The UAE is a strategic partner for Latvia which can serve as a gateway enabling Latvian companies to expand their presence in the GCC, Latvian President Raimonds Vejonis said during his recent meeting with a UAE trade delegation in Riga, led by the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
During the meeting, Vejonis said Latvian companies can benefit from the expertise of the UAE companies in key sectors such as logistics, transport and construction, which would greatly support efforts to build a Baltic railway connecting the region with other EU countries. He explained that Latvia's logistics market offers significant investment potential for UAE companies, and pointed out that his country has taken concrete steps to develop its economy and attract investment from the UAE.
Vejonis revealed that Latvia is in the process of finalising an investment protection agreement with the UAE, which is expected to be announced next month. He said Latvia's participation in Expo 2020 will provide Latvian companies access to new growth opportunities, especially within the areas of information technology, renewable energy and tourism.
The delegation visit to Latvia was organised as part of Dubai Chamber's Roadshow to the Baltic States which also covered Estonia and Lithuania. It was led by Majid Saif Al Ghurair, Chairman of Dubai Chamber, and joined by Hamad Buamim, President and CEO of Dubai Chamber, Hisham Abdullah Al Shirawi, CEO of Oasis Enterprises, senior Chamber officials, and several businessmen representing leading companies in the UAE.
Addressing the Latvian President, Al Ghurair described Latvia as a promising market with a well-established ICT sector, noting that the delegation's visit to Riga laid a solid foundation for stronger Latvia-UAE relations, while it also provided an ideal platform to learn about Latvia's business environment and investment potential. He said that Latvian companies offer strong expertise in ICT, artificial intelligence and startups which he described as key areas where the UAE is developing its capabilities.
Al Ghurair noted that the delegation visit to Latvia supports Dubai Chamber's strategy of exploring promising markets around the world and identifying attractive business opportunities that its members can benefit from. Establishing direct flights between Dubai and Latvia would be a major step in improving trade relations, he said, adding that such a move would help boost bilateral trade and investment.
Dubai Chamber's Chairman pointed out that the visit followed a recent trade mission to the country organised by the UAE Ministry of Economy and the UAE-Latvia Business Forum in Dubai hosted by the Chamber in 2017, adding that such efforts reflect the UAE's strong commitment to forging stronger ties with Latvia.
Following the meeting, the delegation took part in a business roundtable which was organised by Dubai Chamber in cooperation with the Latvian Investment & Development Agency. The roundtable was joined by key stakeholders from Latvia's public and private sectors.
During the roundtable, Al Ghurair spoke about the roadshow's objectives of exploring business opportunities in Latvia and the Baltic region and attracting Latvian companies to Dubai.
For his part, Buamim identified five sectors where Latvian companies and their UAE counterparts can expand their cooperation, namely agriculture, ICT, logistics, tourism and healthcare, and said that boosting collaboration in these areas would support the Dubai's economic diversification plans.
Buamim said Expo 2020 Dubai will provide an ideal opportunity to further facilitate UAE-Latvia cooperation and noted that Dubai Chamber is working closely with the Latvian Chamber of Commerce to attract Latvian companies to Dubai and promote their participation in the mega event.
Al Shirawi extended an invitation for Latvian companies to attend and participate in major exhibitions and conferences held throughout the year in Dubai, and expressed his interest in facilitating cooperation between UAE and Latvian startups.
Arvils Aseradens, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Economics of Latvia, spoke about the advantages of doing business in Latvia and described the country as a trustworthy partner on international stage.
The Latvian Deputy Prime Minister noted that Latvia's economic growth is accelerating at a faster pace than the EU average, and pointed out that the country is a world leader in mobile data consumption and renewable energy. He encouraged UAE companies to connect with their Latvian counterparts to gain valuable insights about existing business opportunities in Latvia.
Aseradens revealed that the UAE and Latvia recently agreed to convene the first meeting of the Joint Economic Committee which was established in line with a bilateral economic cooperation agreement. He expressed his optimism about the committee and said the move would help promote trade and business cooperation between the two countries.
Hanan Khalfan Al Alili, UAE Ambassador to Latvia, explained that the UAE leadership has made economic cooperation a top priority and said the delegation visit to Latvia is a testament to the commitment of Dubai's business community to enhancing the bilateral relations. She pointed out that Dubai Chamber-led delegation was the first business delegation from the Arab world to visit Latvia and explore opportunities in the Baltic region.
Source: UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs