Latvia is prepared to work in 16+1 format and carry out necessary activities in order to become a coordinating element. This will allow the country to strengthen its logistics and transport sector potential in Asia, notes Latvian Transport Ministry’s State Secretary Kaspars Ozolins.
The 16+1 format consists of 11 EU member states, including Latvia, five Balkan states and China. Countries part of this project wish to divide EUR 10 billion on different industries, including transport and logistics.
China’s and Eastern European countries’ cooperation format 16+1, in which Latvia would play the coordinating role in transport and logistics sector, could be one of the most notable platform for development of cooperation with Asia, as noted in a recent Logistics Industry Council meeting. Members of the council approved of the aforementioned initiative and called for development of goals and ways of accomplishing them, as reported by Transport Ministry.
Ozolins informed members of the council about results of the visit to China and future cooperation plans. In May 2015, Latvia’s delegation of transport and logistics sector traveled to China. On 12 June there was a meeting with a delegation of representatives of China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in Riga. The visit was organized based on the ministry’s priority – active work to diversify cargo flow in order to become part of regional supply line, increase the added value of cargoes, develop more effective use of state assets and make the industry more attractive for high-quality foreign investments, explained Latvian Transport Ministry.
As part of the visit to China, the Latvian delegation visited provinces that have the largest cargo-attraction potential and for which Latvian entrepreneurs have expressed the most interest – Shanghai, Chengdu and Chongqing. Latvian representatives were shown industrial, economic and logistical zones, and logistical parks. Entrepreneurs also met with leading enterprises there, including Hewlet Packard, Asus, Sony, Toshiba and others.
Ozolins admitted that all meetings proved the interest of the Chinese side in Latvia’s offer. Latvia and China have maintained a political dialogue for a long time. China also stands as one of Latvia’s most important foreign trade partners. Latvia wishes to concentrate on cooperation with rapidly growing western and central provinces of China.
Members of the council also provided information on the current state of things in the industry, problems, external influence, predictions and proposals for strengthening the industry’s foothold. In general, predictions about the industry’s future development were cautious.
BNN had previously reported that Baltic Association – Transport and Logistics has urged Latvian state institutions and high-rank officials to carry out work in order to reduce the dependence of the country’s transport and logistics industry on Russia.
Instead of solely maintaining good relations with Russia, BATL urges officials to look for alternatives in Asia.