Minsk and Riga are neighbors

Belarus and Latvia established the Council of Business Cooperation
Latvia has been occupying one of the leading positions in the rating of the main trading and economical partners of Belarus for several years. Following the results of the first six months of 2008, for example, it ranked 6th in the sales volume. However, our country holds a steady position of an exporter in relations with this northern neighbor: Latvia holds the 4th position in the volume of Belarusian export, and import volume of this country allows the Baltic neighbors to count only on the 26th line.

According to Kaspars Gerhards, the Minister of Economy of Latvia, who has recently visited Minsk, import volume from Latvia to Belarus increased by 27 per cent for the last year. “On the other hand, it would be a mistake to suppose that the lion’s share of goods supplied to us from Belarus is potassium fertilizers. The share of Belarusian goods increased approximately by 20 per cent for the last year”, he explained. Besides, according to the results of the last year, the sales turnover between two countries exceeded 1.2 billion US Dollars.

In order to strengthen close economical friendship, Belarus and Lithuania established the Council of Business Cooperation on the level of entrepreneurs. A corresponding protocol was signed following the results of the meeting of the fourth Belarusian-Latvian intergovernmental commission on economical, scientific and technical cooperation. According to the co-chairman of the Council Kirov Lipman, the main objective of the structure is more operative and qualitative investment into Latvia and Belarus. 15 representatives from each party were included into the Council’s composition. “We hope that this will be a great force for positive solution of many questions,” Lipman explained. “Today the spheres of transport, conveyance, logistics and privatization of enterprises are among the most topical cooperation issues”.

According to the Minister of Economy of Belarus Nikolay Zaychenko, a stable growth of mutual trade is obvious as the sales turnover increased by 2.5 times for January–July of this year. Signing of the protocol will allow increasing these indicators in future. Obviously, searching of new possibilities to get access to the sea will become one of the important directions for our country. Moreover, Latvian harbors competing primarily with other Baltic ports are interested in Belarusian entrepreneurs to work with them more actively. As Kaspars Gerhards explained, at the present moment almost 20 million tons of Belarusian goods goes through Latvian ports every day which is almost one third of the whole volume. However, a decrease in the transshipment volume of potassium fertilizers via Ventspils port was observed during the first six months of this year. In this connection, the minister stated that Latvian entrepreneurs, government institutions and administrations of ports continue considering the issues of providing the Belarusian party with the best conditions.

Alexander Bogdanov
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