The visit of a delegation of entrepreneurs to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) ended with new contacts and cooperation partners. Wide possibilities of expanding trade ties can be seen in cooperation with Kuwait. The visit was organised with an aim to search for new export markets and address investors.
The visit of Latvian entrepreneurs to the United Arab Emirates was organised within the framework of the visit of the President of Latvia Raimonds Vējonis from 25 to 28 February 2017. Representatives of 62 leading Latvian companies in the field of education, food production, IT, wood processing, transport and logistics, metal processing and mechanical engineering, construction, architecture and planning, tourism, medicine and healthcare, chemical industry, and other fields participated in this business visit.
Arvils Ašeradens, member of the Cabinet of Ministers and Minister for Economics, emphasises: “United Arab Emirates are already the most important trade partner of Latvia among the Gulf States. Over the last years, the foreign trade turnover between Latvia and UAE has been stably growing, reaching over EUR 80M. Both the Embassy of the Republic of Latvia and the Economic Representative Office of Latvia provide assistance in developing bilateral cooperation between Latvia and UAE; however, this visit of high-ranking politicians is an invaluable signal promoting economic cooperation in business environment of both countries. Cooperation expansion possibilities confirm also the interest of entrepreneurs of both countries and their active participation in the Business Forum and Networking Event organised in Dubai”.
Business forum and business networking event featuring entrepreneurs of both countries, as well as meetings with potential partners were organised for for the Latvian business delegation to UAE. During the visit, the Director of the Investment and Development Agency of Latvia (LIAA) Andris Ozols and the Arab League, a regional organisation of independent Arab states wherein twenty-two countries and four observer states are operating, signed a Memorandum of Understanding on the establishment of the Latvian – Arab Business Council of Entrepreneurs.
LIAA Director Andris Ozols who headed the business delegation of Latvian entrepreneurs believes that this visit is an important step for the development of Latvian companies both in words and in deeds. “Promotion of economic ties with UAE and Gulf States is one of the priorities set by the external economic policy of Latvia. Food, information technologies, tourism and medical tourism, pharmacy, as well as construction and education are the most perspective areas of cooperation with UAE in promoting business. Exports would give entrepreneurs of these fields completely different development possibilities than local markets. Taking into account meetings of entrepreneurs and their targeted activities, I hope that this visit is just the beginning and there will be particular results as well”, A.Ozols tells.
During the visit, several purposeful representatives of companies from our country had an opportunity to meet with potential partners and investors.
Having summarised the first results of the visit, entrepreneurs are satisfied, indicating that agreements have been reached on the export of products already in the near future. There is a great cooperation potential with Latvian food producers, which, within the framework of the visit, participated in the stand at the International Food Exhibition “GulFood 2017”.
Interest in SIA “Mottra” products was shown by both a chain of five-star hotels/restaurants and a chain of retail stores in UAE; SIA “Gaļas pārstrādes uzņēmums Nākotne”, which is certified in accordance with the UAE market, is planning to commence exporting meat in the near future; AS “Tukuma piens” (“Baltais”), which has been exporting its products to UAE for a half a year now, will expand its portfolio of export products after GulFood, supplementing it with a new product: a protein yoghurt shake.
Within the framework of the visit, several valuable contacts with regard to the organisation of training in Latvia were established by the University of Latvia; the law firm “Eterna Law” commenced negotiations on its inclusion in the United Arab Emirates Bar Association. The clean technology cluster “Cleantech Latvia” had several meetings, during which negotiations were commenced on cooperation in the field of zero-energy buildings, waste management and development of environmental impact assessments for industrial companies. The jewellery brand SIA “Anita Sondore” commenced negotiations on the creation of a collection of design jewellery and selling of items in stores.
UAE real estate developers “Bloom Holding” are interested in project implementation in Latvia and commenced negotiations with the architect bureau “Sarma & Norde” within the framework of the visit. Likewise, the UAE company showed interest in SIA “Mikrokods” 3D-modelling services, using which real estate purchasers would have an opportunity to view the building remotely in a 3D environment.
UAE entrepreneurs are also interested in making investments in the field of education, production of biological products, and selling of different food products in EU market. Many companies see Latvia as a possible centre for implementing their economic interests.
The Minister for Economics Arvils Ašeradens and LIAA Director Andris Ozols, prolonging their visit in the Gulf Region, visited Kuwait on 1–2 March, meeting with the Vice-Premier of Kuwait, Minister of Energy, the world’s 5th largest national investment fund “Kuwait Investment Authority” and the management of the Kuwait Chamber of Commerce and Industry. As A.Ašeradens admits after the visit: “Latvia and Kuwait have extensive possibilities for expanding trade ties, therefore intensive work is carried out to sign an economic cooperation agreement as soon as possible. We are gratified by the fact that the Kuwait Investment Authority as well as government representatives saw Latvia as an investment partner in infrastructure development projects, in the field of tourism, particularly medical tourism, as well as in the field of food production”.
In 2016, UAE was the 23rd largest goods export partner and the 54th largest goods import partner of Latvia. Export of goods amounted to EUR 76.8M, while import — EUR 4.8M. The main export goods of Latvia to UAE are products of mechanical engineering and electrical appliances, crop exports (wheat and wheat/rye mix), export of animals and cattle-breeding products. Machines, mechanisms, electrical appliances and chemical products are imported from UAE the most.
In 2015, Kuwait was the 100th largest foreign trade partner of Latvia. The total trade turnover of goods and services amounts to EUR 3.52M, including export — EUR 3.17M and import — EUR 0.35M. One of the most important export goods of Latvia to Kuwait has traditionally been timber and its products, as well as mineral products (peat); the structure of exports is being gradually diversified and in 2016, Latvia exported also machines and mechanisms (electrical equipment), dairy products, as well as different ranges of foods products (flour products, chocolate, fruit jam, etc.) to Kuwait.
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