Baltic Association – Transport and Logistics values the realization of the conference in Riga dedicated to the 16+1 international initiative, saying that Latvia, upon taking on the role of the coordinator and becoming a leader in transport and logistics matters among Baltic States as part of 16+1 initiative, has to use all opportunities for developing cooperation with Asia in order to reduce reliance of the transport and logistics industry on Russia, as well as explore new markets.
«I am truly happy to see the conference of 16+1 format officials taking place in Riga this week and Latvia’s commitment to play the role of the coordinator in spite of concerns about Latvia’s participation in this initiative. It is unquestionable, however, that the conference in Latvia means a big international accomplishment for our country and an opportunity for local entrepreneurs to expand and find new cooperation opportunities in Asia,» – comments BATL President Inta Antane.
Indexes of Q1 2016 point to a sharp decline in the inflow of cargoes to Latvia, which continues to decline. With that, BATL expects that 16+1 initiative will open up new and specific cooperation opportunities for local businessmen.
«Considering the complicated state of Latvia’s transit industry and the sharp decline of cargoes in Q1 – diversification of cargoes and exploration of new markets is an important need right now. I believe that Latvia cannot afford to miss opportunities provided by 16+1. We have to use all advantages provided by this conference – we have to put effort into making sure Latvian companies will be able to sign important contracts at the expected 16+1 prime ministers summit in autumn,» – explains Antane.
«During the meeting of 16+1 format transport ministers, it is necessary to create conditions for future cooperation and reach agreements on favourable business conditions to make said cooperation closer and more pragmatic. We are prepared to secure just that from our part,» – said Latvian Transport Minister Uldis Augulis during his meeting with Chinese Vice-Transport Minister Dai Donchang on Monday, 16 May.
Augulis also mentioned Latvia’s commitment towards active cooperation with China to help develop important transport projects. He also emphasized that China is a very valuable partner for Latvia’s transport industry. Augulis also has a visit to China planned for July.
Up until now Latvia has had the closest trade relations with Chengdu province, with which Latvia had signed a memorandum on cooperation in transports in September 2015. According to Augulis, a major step towards developing relations was the formation of Latvian visa centres that will start working in Chengdu, Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou on 20 May. Visa centres in 11 other Chinese towns will be opened gradually before the end of 2016.