Latvia ready to build up economic cooperation with Belarus

Latvia is interested in boosting economic cooperation with Belarus and is ready to undertake necessary efforts, Ambassador of Latvia to Belarus Mihails Popkovs said at the Minsk-Riga investment forum.

The diplomat noted that over the past few years the Belarusian-Latvian economic relations have been increasingly vibrant, although the global financial crisis had, to some extent, affected certain areas of cooperation, in particular transit. “But in general, cooperation continues to develop. Last year, according to the Latvian statistics, bilateral trade between Belarus and Latvia increased by 10%. This suggests that we have dealt with the negative impact of the crisis, and we hope that the positive trend will consolidate in the future,” Mihails Popkovs said.

Latvia is one of the largest investors in Belarus: the amount of Latvian investments has exceeded $600 million, “The sphere of interests of Latvian investors is wide enough. Recently, a large Latvian construction company has won a tender and started the construction of a hotel complex of the Hyatt hotel chain near Komsomolskoye Lake in Minsk. The project is estimated at about $100 million. Active on the Belarusian market are Latvian IT-companies, logistics and catering businesses. Negotiations began on the opening of an office of the Riga Freeport in Minsk,” said Mihails Popkovs. “At the same time, we believe that the level of investment cooperation between our two countries has not reached its limits and has a very large untapped potential,” he added.

One of the promising areas for cooperation is creation of joint companies. “This process is gaining momentum. As of today there are over 1,000 joint ventures in the two countries. The sides are negotiating the creation of a modern pharmaceutical company with the Latvian capital. There are plans to open an assembly plant of Belarusian tractors in Yelgava. The sidies are working on a project to set up a large Belarusian-Latvian logistics center close to one of the border crossings. Another promising project is the creation of the Mogilev elevator production and maintenance center in Riga. A joint project on constructing a large truck service center near Minsk has already been launched,” the diplomat stressed.

According to