AmCham is an invaluable resource that keeps us up to date with business issues and opportunities.
Mantautas Paskevicius, Country Manager of Strategic Staffing Solutions International
The second Latvian-U.S. business conference Spotlight Latvia took place on May 2 in Denver, Colorado. The event was attended by over 130 individuals, representing over 80 different companies and government agencies including 20 companies represented Latvia. The theme of this year's event was Healthy Living as a uniting factor for both Latvia and Colorado. Other related topics were about healthy nutrition, biotechnologies and sports equipment.
Spotlight Latvia was opened by Ralfs Nemiro, the Latvian Minister of Economics highlighting Latvia as one of the fastest growing economies in the European Union. Last year Latvia's economy grew by 4.8%. The Minister also presented the advantages that Latvia offers to the global business community - high quality of life, regional transportation hub with many connections, highly educated and multilingual workforce, and one of the most progressive startup legislations in Europe.
Ambassador of Latvia to the U.S. Mr Andris Teikmanis talked about the dynamic economic relationship between Latvia and the United States - last year trade in goods and services between the two countries reached almost 1.11 billion USD (1 billion euros). The Ambassador also detailed Latvia's investments in the United States - for example, Denver is home to an office of a Latvian company of modern wireless data transmission technologies SAF Tehnika.
Zanda Kalniņa-Lukaševica, Parliamentary Secretary of the Latvian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in her speech focused on the values that unite both sides - well-managed and healthy environment, as well as close cooperation in security. Latvia, as a country that invests 2% of GDP into its own security, is one of the safest investment locations in Europe. Both countries need to work towards decreasing trade barriers. Latvia is strongly supportive of both the European Union and the United States opening trade talks.
Eric Hiraga, the Executive Director of Denver Economic Development & Opportunity, presented Denver's business environment and the city's vision to have an inclusive and innovative economy for both the inhabitants and the visitors. Denver is the fifth fastest growing city in the United States, and second in terms of quality of life standards.
The event was organized by the Latvian American Chamber of Commerce (LatCham) in close cooperation with the Embassy of Latvia, the Investment and Development Agency of Latvia (LIAA) as well as American Latvian Association (ALA), the World Federation of Free Latvians (PBLA) and Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Latvia. The first Spotlight Latvia took place in Chicago, IL in October 2017, where LatCham was founded. LatCham has over one hundred members in both Latvia and the United States. In 2018, when Latvia celebrated its centennial, a high-level business event took place in Washington, DC right after the Baltic and U.S. Presidents had met at the White House.
I'm delighted to be part of business community which strives to improve the business environment.
Roberts Melbardis, Country Manager, Encompass Digital Media Latvia