AmCham, as an Associate member of the Foreign Investors' Council in Latvia (FICIL), is invited to delegate its members to take part in the working groups aiming at proposing constructive recommendations to the government on a variety of issues.

FICIL is a business organization made up of the largest foreign investors in Latvia and 13 chambers of commerce. FICIL's mission is to improve the business environment and grow foreign investments in Latvia through an active dialogue with the government. Since 1999 FICIL meets annually with the Latvian government at a High Council meeting, providing expertise and recommendations on Latvia's economic development.

As a member of FICIL, AmCham invites its members to participate or continue taking part in the following working groups of FICIL:

Tax Policy and Administration
Leaders: Aija Kļavinska, Baiba Strupiša
The work group is closely following developments in Latvia's tax system and tax administration, and coming up with proposals for the State Revenue Service on how to improve the business environment and investment climate through changes and improvements in tax system and/or administration. Predictable tax policy for business, tax administration and fight against shadow economy are top priorities for the work group.

Leader: Claudio Rivera
Education work group is continuing the work done last year. FICIL strongly believes that changes in the higher education system need to happen now. The university governance model is one of the priorities that needs to be addressed in this pre-election season as well as after October 6th. Working in synergy with government institutions as well as higher education institutions, the issue of the quality of higher education needs to be brought to the forefront of discussion and highly improved.

Intellectual Property Protection
Leader: Ingrīda Kariņa-Bērziņa
Intellectual property protection work group reviews legislation related to intellectual property rights and gives its recommendation to the Latvian government for improvement of legal acts.

Transport Issues
Leaders: William le Clere
Next meeting: December 21, 2018 at 9:00
Transport issues work group has looked at the Rail Baltica project and what effect this would have on the investment opportunities in Latvia in the future. Also discussed, the current airport infrastructure, and what needs to be done to improve that from the freight side. Many industries across Latvia are struggling when it comes to the availability of workforce, this was also a topic touched upon in the transport work group meetings..

Leader: Ilze Kramiņa
The FICIL Construction work group has been a very active player in the Latvian legal environment, contributing to the improvement of the construction regulations and investment environment. The work group has proposed reviewing the construction legislation with respect to the liability of the construction process participants and looking for other ways to improve the regulation. Currently work group focuses on real estate tax for reconstructed objects and rights to construct in port areas.

Energy and Waste Management
Leader: Nauris Kļava
Next meeting: December 3, 2018 at FICIL office, Strelnieku 1, 3rd floor at 16:00
The work group deals with issues related to energy sector and waste management policy. Clarify the terms for potential implementation of the deposit system in Latvia and turning waste into resource by promoting material and energy recovery are the priorities in the waste management field. In the field of energy sector policy work group recommends to adopt integrated national energy and climate change plan and promote cost efficiency in the Renewable Energy Policy, demand de-carbonization also from non-ETS sectors and consistency and predictability regarding Mandatory Procurement Component reforms.

Economic and Financial Crime Issues
Leader: Ulvis Jankavs
Next meeting: December 7, 2018 at SEB Innovation Centre, Valnu 11 at 9:00
This group is addressing such topics as insolvency proceedings in Latvia, actions taken to limit financial crimes as in anti-money laundering, corruption and the way data is shared between financial institutions to prevent these crimes from happening..

Investment Protection and Court Efficiency
Leader: Māris Vainovskis
The work group looks into the existing business legislation and the rule of law which are among most significant factors for investment decisions. The work group is dealing with proposals to improve the quality of business and investment framework to make Latvia more attractive place for investment. Apart from quality of business legislation, court system efficiency and improvements in the Commercial Law makes large part of the work group's agenda. As for this year, the work group also has been following amendments to the Competition Law.

Labour Force Issues
Leader: Irina Kostina, Andris Lazdins
Next meeting: November 29, 2018 at FICIL office, Strelnieku 1, 3rd floor at 10:00
The Group held an informative meeting with deputy head of the Office of Citizenship and Migration (PMLP) - Ms Maira Roze, as well as the head of the Migration section at PMLP - Ms Ilze Briede. FICIL is very grateful for the time and undivided attention given to the investors. Questions were answered in detail, as well as future cooperation was mapped out with the possibility to give our input in amendments to regulations in a timely manner.

Leader: Baiba Apine
The Group is very active moving forward with the outlined goals for this season. Deputy secretary of state of the Ministry of Economics Mr Raimonds Aleksejenko will be participating in the next work group discussion to talk about digitalization in the public sector.

Healthcare Issues
Leader: Daina Dzirkale
The Healthcare issues work group has been looking at Healthcare Financing Law adopted in the end of last year. The focus of in-depth analysis was targeted at strategic goals of the Law, political commitments in and potential administrative burden and implementation challenges.

Food and Drink Industry
Leader: Nele Normak
Next meeting: January 16, 2019 at FICIL office, Strelnieku 1, 3rd floor at 15:00
The Group gathered to keep the conversation rolling on food labelling in Latvia. Ministry of Agriculture representative, Ms Gunta Evardsone, attended the latest meeting to inform FICIL members on the stance of Ministry of Agriculture in this regard, as well as talked about different food labelling schemes in the European Union.

If you would like to contribute your expertise to any of these working groups, please let us know by contacting Ieva Melngaile at: .

Please also let us know if you are a member of above mentioned working groups.

(Information last updated on November 23, 2018) 

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