Latvia’s has decided to coordinate transport and logistics industry within China’s and Central and Eastern European countries’ cooperation format 16+1 and organize next year’s meeting of ministries involved in 16+1 format in Riga.
This is mentioned in the report on Latvia’s cooperation with China as part of the 16+1 format and the New Silk Road initiative approved by the government on 13 October.
16+1 cooperation format for China and Central and Eastern European countries provides for cooperation with 16 European countries (Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Poland, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina) in different areas, including transport.
In order for Latvia to become a coordinating country in transports and logistics within 16+1 format, it will be necessary to acquire approval from China and other countries taking part in the format, as reported by Transport Ministry.
During a meeting of Logistics Council, in which representatives of freeports, largest transport companies in the country and multiple associations took part, members agreed that transport coordination within 16+1 format would help attract cargoes from China. Having this status would raise Latvia’s recognition in the transport and logistics industry, as well as improve bilateral and multilateral cooperation in the realization of certain projects. Council members supported the initiative for Latvia to take on the role of a coordinator in the 16+1 format and expressed their readiness to get involved in this format.
The report also mentions information about China’s New Silk Road initiative – One Belt, One Road (OBOR), which is aimed at developing connectivity and cooperation on the Eurasian continent. In March 2015 China developed guidelines for the realization of this initiative. These guidelines are meant to improve cooperation with European, Asian and African countries in different areas.
Because of the goals of this initiative is to improve Eurasia’s land transport connectivity with China, Central Asia, Russia and Europe, which is also Transport Ministry’s main priority in cooperation with China, the ministry believes this initiative by the Chinese government will help stimulate transport development between Europe and Asia. With that, Latvia would have a transit advantage to offer, especially in regard to effective distribution of Chinese goods in the Baltic Sea Region.
The embassy of the Republic of Belarus has expressed its interest in cooperating with Latvia within the Chinese initiative. Latvia’s Transport Ministry agreed with thin proposal, as both countries have similar interests in attracting Chinese cargoes. As part of the cooperation plan with China, a new industrial part – Big Rock – is currently being established in Minsk, as well as a Chinese product distribution centre.
Latvian Transport Ministry believes it would be worthwhile for Latvia to become actively involved and start cooperating within China’s OBOR initiative across all industries. TM should use all opportunities to become involved in events organized as part of OBOR and present offers of Latvia’s transport and logistics industry, as well as the country’s infrastructure for China’s developed OBOR corridor map with an emphasis on Latvia’s capabilities in cargo distribution in Baltic States and Scandinavia, says the ministry.