The second Latvian-U.S. business conference Spotlight Latvia took place on May 2 in Denver, CO. More than one hundred participants were in attendance, and twenty companies represented Latvia. The theme of this year’s event was Healthy Living as a uniting factor for both Latvia and Colorado. Other related topics were about healthy nutrition, biotechnologies and sports equipment.
Spotlight Latvia was opened by the Latvian Minister of Economics Mr Ralfs Nemiro highlighting Latvia as one of the fastest growing economies in the European Union. Last year Latvia’s economy grew by 4.8%. The Minister also presented the advantages that Latvia offers to the global business community – high quality of life, regional transportation hub with many connections, highly educated and multilingual workforce, and one of the most progressive startup legislations in Europe.
Ambassador of Latvia to the U.S. Mr Andris Teikmanis talked about the dynamic economic relationship between Latvia and the United States – last year trade in goods and services between the two countries reached almost 1.11 billion USD (1 billion euros). The Ambassador also detailed Latvia’s investments in the United States – for example, Denver is home to an office of a Latvian company of modern wireless data transmission technologies SAF Tehnika.
Ms Zanda Kalniņa-Lukaševica, Parliamentary Secretary of the Latvian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in her speech focused on the values that unite both sides – well-managed and healthy environment, as well as close cooperation in security. Latvia, as a country that invests 2% of GDP into its own security, is one of the safest investment locations in Europe. Both countries need to work towards decreasing trade barriers. Latvia is strongly supportive of both the European Union and the United States opening trade talks.
Mr Eric Hiraga, the Executive Director of Denver Economic Development & Opportunity, presented Denver’s business environment and the city’s vision to have an inclusive and innovative economy for both the inhabitants and the visitors. Denver is the fifth fastest growing city in the United States, and second in terms of quality of life standards.
The event was organized by the Latvian American Chamber of Commerce (Latcham), in close cooperation with the Embassy of Latvia, the Latvian Investment and Development Agency (LIAA), as well as the American Latvian Association (ALA) and the World Federation of Free Latvians (PBLA). The first Spotlight Latvia took place in Chicago, IL in October 2017, where Latcham was founded. Latcham has over one hundred members in both Latvia and the United States. In 2018, when Latvia celebrated its centennial, a high-level business event took place in Washington, DC right after the Baltic and U.S. Presidents had met at the White House.
Latvia and Colorado trade was worth 15 million USD in 2017, 9 million euro of which was Latvian exports, mostly electronics.
Spotlight Latvia takes place day prior the ALA annual congress in the same city.