On March 28, the Ambassador of Latvia to the USA Andris Teikmanis opened the Honorary Consulate of Latvia in the State of Minnesota. The Honorary Consulate will be located in Wayzata, nearby the largest city in the state – Minneapolis. The opening was attended by over seventy guests – other honorary consuls, local government, business and Latvian community representatives.
There are approximately two thousand Minnesotans of Latvian heritage.
The Ambassador was in Minneapolis for a two-day visit. During his first day he visited local Latvians and met with Minnesota Global president Mark Ritchie. During his second day the Ambassador was in St. Paul and met with Governor Tim Walz whom he invited to to travel to Latvia with a business delegation.
The Latvian Ambassador also spoke to the local media, including the largest Minnesota newspaper – Star Tribune.
Minnesota has historically been a close cooperation partner for Latvia despite the geographical distance. There are over five million people living in the state, many of whom are of German and Scandinavian descent. The state is home to such U.S. companies as 3M, Target, General Mills, Best Buy, U.S. Bancorp, and Carlson Wagonlit (a Radisson brand). Last year Latvian export in goods to Minnesota reached 5.8 million euros (6.52 million U.S. dollars). Latvian companies mostly exported bottled drinks, alcoholic drinks, stone and ceramics products, electronics, as well as toys.
Honorary Consul John Freivalds was born in Latvia. His family left the country in 1949. Mr Freivalds has studied international relations at Georgetown University, and has received a Master’s degree from the George Washington University. He has been a businessman and a publicist. After when Latvia recovered its independence, Mr Freivalds helped to attract American investors to Latvia, the most notable of the brands being Radisson. The Honorary Consul lists business and public relations as priorities in his new job.
Honorary Consuls are unpaid Latvian representatives, some of whom also manage limited consular functions. Latvia has 20 Honorary Consuls in the United States – in Alaska, Florida, South Carolina, Georgia, Illinois, Utah, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, Virginia, Washington, as well as Northern California, Southern California, and the City of New York.
More information about Latvian Honorary Consuls in the USA: https://www.mfa.gov.lv/en/diplomatic-missions#