Baltic Association – Transport and Logistics is satisfied that activities the association had initiated one year ago to prepare for 16+1 summit have resulted in accomplishments and successful realization of the business forum.
BATL president Inga Antane expressed hope that 16+1 summit would secure new cooperation opportunities for Latvian and Chinese businessmen. At the same time, she noted that Latvia should not fall into a state of self-satisfaction and instead find a way to use the new opportunities. «Prime Minister Maris Kucinskis has reported that many talks took place during the forum and many agreements were signed. The transit industry expects clear answers from the prime minister. The industry wishes to know how Latvia’s global competitiveness in transit field after the summit, what agreements were signed during the summit and how Latvia can become interesting to potential partners. The industry also wants to know about future plans for the industry,» – Antane said.
According to her, 16+1 format offers Latvia new opportunities. However, to make it one of Latvia’s development stories, the country has to become interesting to the Scandinavian market. Regular cargo transports between Latvia and China will only be possible once we have a clear cooperation model with the market of Nordic countries and once we can secure cargoes to send back. This was also mentioned by Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang during the summit.
«In a time when global-scale changes are being performed in the world’s transit routes, this is the best moment for Latvia to retain its status as a transit country and create the most competitive conditions for new transit roads to appear in Latvia,» – Antane said, adding that this goal requires specific and clear game rules.
Unfortunately, Latvia seems to have failed to present a unified transit corridor offer at the 16+1 summit, BATL noted, adding that Latvia should finish its homework and finally come up with a railway and port offer to help potential partners clearly understand costs and conditions for cooperation.
«The summit proved that Latvia and China have a lot in common when it comes to economic cooperation. China is interested in forming cooperation with Latvian businessmen, including in our country’s vitally important transit and logistic field. This is why creation of a unified and competitive transit corridor is currently one of the most important duties Latvia has to fulfil. A new era has commenced for Latvia’s transit industry. For its full realization, however, it is necessary to begin joint constructive work that requires participation from representatives of the government and industry businessmen,» – Antane concluded.