«Trade policy is influenced more and more by globalization and geopolitical changes in the world. This creates challenges and opportunities for Latvian businessmen. In spite of recent changes in the world, Latvia’s diplomatic service works with a clear goal – to defend Latvia’s security and economic interests,» – says Foreign Affairs Ministry’s parliamentary secretary Zanda Kalnina-Lukasevica.
On Wednesday, 1 February, ‘Export. Import. Development.’ Conference was held to discuss the influence of geopolitical developments on import and export developments in the world, as BNN was informed by representatives of Foreign Affairs Ministry.
During the conference, Kalnina-Lukasevica confirmed that the country’s foreign service will continue working this year to provide practical support to businessmen and focus on industries aimed at exports, such as transport and logistics, food production, information and communication technologies, pharmacy, logging, tourism and higher education.
«Our embassies abroad have been given specific tasks to contribute to Latvia’s external trade, export markets, attract foreign investments and improve tourism. We are prepared to expand tasks given to embassies to better protect the interests and needs of Latvian businessmen,» – Kalnina-Lukasevica said.
In spite of global turbulence, manufacturing volumes in Latvia grew by 10% last year. «Latvian businesses have succeeded in exploring new markets quickly after the closure of one of them. Latvian exports to South Korea, China, India, Central Asia and EU member states,» – Kalnina-Lukasevica said.
The parliamentary secretary also said that 2017 opens up new export opportunities, because multiple important international agreements have been signed. She noted that the EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) signed last October is the most modern trade agreement EU has ever agreed upon: «I hope for the provisional application of the trade agreement with Canada by spring this year. It opens new and attractive export opportunities for our businessmen.»
Also the ministry’s parliamentary secretary noted that the ratification of the World Trade Organization’s Trade Promotion Agreement is nearing completion. The new agreement provides for reduced level of bureaucracy in cross-border trade, providing the opportunity to carry goods over the border more freely. This agreement will help Latvian businessmen interested in new export markets.
Speaking of IT, Kalnina-Lukasevica mentioned that the IT agreement was expanded in 2016, reducing taxes on goods that form 90% of the global IT goods trade. «According to WTO estimates, tariff reduction will apply to approximately USD 1.3 billion worth IT goods every year. This is an important step towards the opening of the IT market, which will help stimulate economic growth,» – said the parliamentary secretary.
The forum gathered more than 250 participants, including some of Latvia’s largest export businesses.