In broad terms, Latvia’s direction towards the United States of America is a defined priority of the country’s foreign policy, admits the new ambassador of Latvia to USA Andris Razans. However, he promises to also pay attention to the sphere of economics.
«If we compare cooperation between the two countries in terms of defence policy, it is clear that the economic half is lagging behind. The potential for economic cooperation is much greater than the one employed until now; we can only speculate about the reasons, but I do not think that it is because of the lack of knowledge or resourcefulness in our people. The economic portfolio contains problematic questions that need to be resolved as soon as possible, one of the most important ones – the situation around Liepajas Metalurgs. Our businessmen need to learn how to define their interests in a clearer way and learn to turn to the embassy for help, if such a necessity arises. Our politicians should also take the time to travel around the states of USA: places where business is developing, meet with companies in the same way our Prime Minister did last summer. And only by reminding everyone about us by saying that Latvia is not only a producer country with low value added costs, we interest someone,»- Razans said in an interview to Diena.
When asked whether there are new trumps that can be used to convince Americans to invest money, Razans replied: for Latvia to attract investments there is need for an appropriate business environment, tax policy. «The country and local governments need to be interested and capable of supporting the introduction of business. There should be clarity about what is going on in the economy. Right now, all we can say more or less for certain is that these elements are actually clearly defined. If around four years ago there was a lot of speculation, now this time has gone and USA needs to be convinced that this is the aforementioned clarity. Also, the question of economic recovery of Baltic States by means of USA has become one of the internal policy engines that are being discussed. Even I can present news about Latvia, saying that our businessmen have learned a lot from the crisis. If a businessman knows exactly what he wants, the ambassador has an easier time at work, because we do not need to draw castles and we can support ideas that are already complete.»
To the question of how Obama’s America is different from Bush’s America, the new ambassador replied: «Foreign and defence policy have had different approaches, especially, if we take a look at the relations between USA and large strategic partners. Bush’s challenge was to overcome the September 11 disaster in a psychological and political sense, this defined the future years of his administration including the policy in Asia, Afghanistan and Iraq. Obama received all this as heritage from his predecessor, but his approach was more directed towards resolving problems through diplomatic means. But this does not mean significant differences. Additionally, while expenses were higher during Bush’s administration, because there was need to invest in arms in the fight with international terrorism; now we see that Obama’s policy is directed towards decreasing budget deficit, because there are other opportunities in internal policy.»