bnn.lv Latviski   bnn-news.com English   bnn-news.ru По-русски
Tuesday 28.03.2017 | Name days: Ginta, Gunda, Gunta
LatviaLatvia

Economic Diary of Latvia. From corruption exports to a sturdy fence

FaceBook
Twitter
Draugiem
print
(No Ratings Yet)

Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUThis week, OECD published a report on Latvia’s progress in combating bribery of foreign officials. As it turns out, Latvia has no noteworthy accomplishments in this area. Nevertheless, the situation cannot be called completely ruined as well.

As previously reported, Latvia plans to become a member of OECD, complying with specific requirements is an obligatory condition for joining this club. One such requirement is compliance with rules of Convention on combating bribery of foreign public officials in international business transactions.

OECD experts have come to the conclusion that Latvia is in an early stage of combating this phenomenon. What this means is that Latvia does not apply legislative measures actively enough to properly combat corruption and money laundering.

It is hoped that this convention will help countries that have signed it to adopt legislative means to combat so-called exports of corruption – ‘intentional offers, promises or other illegal advantages to foreign officials in exchange for influence over international business deals’.

OECD experts mention some progress in Latvia’s legislative development work. Nevertheless, experts say the level of application of legislative means is worrying. In particular, OECD mentions five cases when there were justified reasons to suspect Latvian companies or private persons in bribing foreign officials. None of those cases have resulted in a large-scale investigation, however. In one such case, an American IT company admitted in a testimony to the U.S. government that its Russian branch had paid a bribe to Russian officials. A German mediator transferred EUR 2.2 million to Latvian and Lithuanian banks, on accounts controlled by corrupt officials of fake companies. In another case, a Canadian mining company was paying bribes to high-rank officials in Kyrgyzstan (including the President) for access to a gold mine. Money was being transferred through Latvian mediators.

Money laundering has a separate section in the OECD report. Experts note that there are real risks of money illegally acquired abroad being laundered through Latvia’s banking system by non-resident clients.

Belarus ‘tastes’ Latvia

Days of Latvia opened up in Minsk this week. This event will last until 20 November. The motto is ‘Taste Latvia — Адчуй Латвію’. Days of Latvia are organized in order to popularize Latvian goods in Belarus and expand cooperation between those two countries. Representatives of 18 Latvian companies joined the delegation that departed for Belarus. These companies work in areas like IT, telecommunications, finances, metalworking and manufacturing, food production, construction and others.

Latvian Economy Minister Dana Reizniece-Ozola and Director of Latvian Investments and Development Agency Andris Ozols have also departed to Belarus along with businessmen. Reizniece-Ozola noted that if Latvia and Belarus had one common platform like WTO, cooperation between the two countries would become ‘simple and clear’. She added that Latvian business is interested in EU sanctions being lifted from Belarus, because this particular country is a valuable trade and economic partner for Latvia. The economy minister said she hopes the decision regarding sanctions against Belarus will be made before 31 October.

In regards to the country’s possible entry in WTO, Andris Ozols said membership in the World Trade Organization includes ‘predictable behaviour’ from member states. He added that the possible membership in WTO would increase the turnover of goods and increased investments for Belarus.

In 2014, the turnover of goods between Latvia and Belarus reached EUR 565.4 million. Belarus became Latvia’s 12th most important trade partner. The volume of exported goods and services to Belarus reached EUR 212 million (1.5% of Latvia’s total export volume). The volume of imports of goods and services reached EUR 353.5 million (2.4% of Latvia’s total import volume).

Building a fence around the country

While Latvia’s Economy Minister is discussing options to lift sanctions from Belarus and cultivate inter-governmental cooperation in different spheres of economic development, Latvian Prime Minister Laimdota Straujuma announces the need to install a fence on the border with Belarus in hopes of combating illegal migration.

According to her, many countries of the European Union are busily installing fences on their borders right now. She adds that this does not mean people will be shot on sight. As for Belarus, the fence, according to Straujuma, would be installed on sections of the border where attempts to cross the border illegally can potentially be made. The cost of this project is not reported.

Previously, Interior Minister Rihards Kozlovskis announced that Latvia plans to erect a 90 km fence on the border with Russia – in order to combat illegal immigrants.

Latvia plans to spend EUR 3 million on improvements to security of its eastern borders.

Ref: 017.109.109.4844


Leave a reply

EC develops stricter requirements for EU competition institutions

The European Commission invites member states to provide competition institutions with resources, independence and effective authority, as BNN was informed by Competition Council.

Tallinn Airport summer schedule to contain 36 routes

Tallinn Airport has announced its summer schedule that will include direct flights to 36 destinations and take effect from mid-April to late May depending on the airline.

«Elf» movement created to oppose internet «trolls»

«While the internet is the leading platform for topical news, it is also an environment for intentional disinformation and lies,» says researcher of the Eastern European Policy Study Centre Maris Cepuritis.

Construction costs in Latvia up 0.8% in February

Compared to January, the level of construction costs in Latvia increased by 0.2 % in February 2017. Labour remuneration of workers rose by 0.8 %, prices of building materials as well as maintenance and operational costs of machinery and equipment grew by 0.1 %.

Pärnu property sold for building plywood plant

Finnish capital company Metsä Wood Eesti has bought 104,000 square metres of land with plans to construct a 50 million euro plywood factory that would employ 200 workers.

Green farmer Krauze does not agree that circus animals have earned «freedom»

«When we were fighting for our freedom, I never would have imagined that we would start closing different circuses, because they present historical and cultural values. I believe we should not restrict that on a legislative level. If any circus owner wants to do that, they can. But we should not establish such restrictions on a national level,» said Armands Krauze, member of the Union of Greens and Farmers.

Providus/Delna notice major risks in approval of KNAB chief’s retirement pension

Saeima’s decision to support amendments to the Law on Retirement Pension of the Chief of Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau has signs of state take-over, as stated by Providus and Delna in their Saeima work monitoring report for February 2017.

Programme: new TV3 and LNT owner will likely sell channels to someone else

The next owner of TV3 and LNT television channels, American Providence Equity Partners investment company, will likely sell these channels to someone else after some time, as concluded by De Facto programme of LTV.

Opinion: multi-speed development idea in Europe is not in Latvia’s interests

The idea of having a multi-speed Europe, as described in the Rome declaration signed by EU member states, does not comply with Latvia’s interests, says president of European Movement – Latvia Andris Gobins.

European Regional Development Fund allocates 15 million euros for start-up ideas in Latvia

For the first time in Latvia, Altum development financial institution has announced a search for acceleration fund managers. These funds will allocate so-called smart money for the realization of different business ideas in their early stages of development. Businessmen will be able to receive up to EUR 250,000 to realize their ideas.

Navalny detained as series of anti-corruption protests held across Russia

The leading Russian opposition activist Alexey Navalny has been detained in Moscow as series of anti-corruption protests were held across Russia.

Hundreds of protesters arrested in Belarus after mass protests

Several hundred people in Belarus have been arrested after participating in mass protests in Minsk and other cities.

Latvia to experience contrasting weather conditions this week

Major weather contrasts of the weather in Latvia are expected to take place in the last week of March – rainy and chilly weather will be replaced by significantly warmer weather at the end of the week, as reported by the State Environment, Geology and Meteorology Centre.

Week in Lithuania. Foreign minister dismisses Lukashenko's accusations as fiction

Lithuania's Foreign Minister Linas Linkevičius has dismissed the statement by Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko about training of armed provokers in Lithuania as fiction out of the blue.

BNN summary of the week: 5G in Latvia, fight against Lembergs, foreign trade balance deficit

BNN offers a summary of this week’s topical news in a variety of categories: Change; Business; Fight; Decline and Growth.

CC: restoration of trust – way out for cartel participants

This year, Competition Council provided positive conclusion in regards to recovery of trust to two companies previously punished for cartel agreement.

Kristovskis: coalition with Lembergs in Ventspils City Council is not possible

«If the party’s list enters the city council, our candidates will definitely not work with Lembergs,» said Girts Valdis Kristovskis in an interview to Latvijas Radio.

Sadales tīkls: energy industry enjoys stable growth in Baltics

Although the company does not experience the lack of quality labour force, when announcing vacancies it becomes clear that population density in regions continues to decline, and this makes it harder to find young specialists for work in regions, said Andis Pinkulis, CEO of Sadales tīkls, in an interview to BNN.

Airline Nordica not to ban tablets and lap-tops from being brought on passenger cabin

Estonia’s national airline Nordica has stated it would not follow the recent U.S. and British ban on such computer devices as tablets and lap-tops from being brought onto passenger cabin on flights.

Rinkevics invites Canadian companies to use Latvia’s transit and logistics infrastructure

«We’re hoping for more intensive economic cooperation and diversification of exports of Latvian goods, as well as attraction of investments from Canada. Canadian investors are awaited in Latvia,» says Latvian Foreign Affairs Minister Edgars Rinkevics.

Rimsevics: tax changes may increase lending volumes in Latvia

Lending volumes in Latvia may increase because of changes to the country’s tax system, says governor of the Bank of Latvia Ilmars Rimsevics.

Latvian authorities deport 19 Vietnamese citizens

19 Vietnamese citizens caught trying to cross the border of the Republic of Latvia last year have been deported from the country.

Latvia’s export and import volume was the lowest in January

Latvia’s export and import volume this January was below what was noted in Lithuania and Estonia. The largest foreign trade balance deficit among Baltic States was noted in Estonia.

Lithuanian population continues to shrink, some glint may be ahead

The shrinkage of Lithuanian population is nowhere close to a halt. In fact, the recent numbers by the Lithuanian Statistics and Eurostat, the European Union‘s statistics agency, purport the opposite: exodus has picked up last year - 50,000 Lithuanian citizens left the country for a better life abroad, up from 44,500 in the previous year.

Over 200 people could have died in Mediterranean

It is assumed that over 200 migrants might have drowned this week in the Mediterranean, off the coast of Libya, a Spanish humanitarian aid organisation feared.