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:

Leader: Claudio Rivera (Riga Business School)
Next meeting: February 15, 2019 at 9:00 at SEB, Valnu 11, 3rd floor
The work group discussed priorities for 2019, the main focus is on the governance model for higher education institutions as well as consolidation of universities in Latvia. The group also had the opportunity to hear a lecture from Peter F. Young on Edutainment. For the next meeting, the work group will have the chance to discuss FICIL's priorities with the Chairman of the Education Committee in Saeima, Mr Arvils Ašeradens.

Food and Drink Industry
Leader: Nele Normak (Coca-Cola)
Next meeting: February 22, 2019 at 9:00 at FICIL office, Strēlnieku 1, 3rd floor
It is planned that the work group will cover topicalities regarding sugar tax, initiatives in product labelling, review planed policy initiatives regarding sweeteners, look at topicalities regarding food waste issue and EU proposed rules in plastic reduction.

Economic and financial crime
Leader: Ulvis Jankavs (SEB)
The work group is actively working on the recommendations for the new Governments' action plan. Many important topics to cover including dealing with AML, the reputation of the financial sector in Latvia, tackling corruption and bribery, and progress on insolvency proceedings.

Labour Force Issues
Leaders: Irina Kostina (Ellex Klavins) and Andris Lazdiņš (Ellex Klavins)
This work group co-leaders Irina Kostina and Andris Lazdiņš are actively continuing their fight to improve the workforce environment in Latvia. As we all know, the outgoing Saeima passed amendments to the Labour law, that included changes in overtime pay and language requirements. FICIL was vigorous in asking the President of Latvia to hand the amendments back to Saeima for a second review, which happened in mid November. The Social and employment matters committee of the Saeima will repeatedly discuss the proposed amendments in December.

Transport issues
Leaders: William le Clere (French Foreign Trade Advisors)
Next meeting: February 5, 2019 at 9:00 at FICIL office, Strēlnieku 1, 3rd floor
The work group deals with issues related to transportation policy and logistics issues. The work group has been vocal in raising topics related with transparency of logistics policy and railway tariffs. This work group held a meeting with Ms Catherine Trautmann, who is the European Coordinator for TEN-T North Sea-Baltic Corridor to discuss the European Commission's view on the Rail Baltica project and potential changes in the investment climate for Latvia through a project of this magnitude. It also met with Mr Kaspars Briškens, head of development at RB Rail, to discuss pro-active and forward-looking commercialization of the Rail Baltica project.

Energy and Waste Management
Leader: Dace Cīrule (Deloitte)
Next meeting: February 12, 2019 at 15:00 at Deloitte office, Gredu 4a
The Energy and Waste Management work group reviewed the latest Saeima's vote to repeal the mandatory procurement component (OIK) by March 31st. The work group agrees that certainty and predictability should be important conditions for fostering economic growth.

Leader: Baiba Apine (PwC)
Next meeting: February 22, 2019 at 9:00 at Pwc office, K. Valdemara 21
On 11 January, the group met with representatives from the Latvian Information and Communications Technology Association (LIKTA) to discuss priorities in the digitalisation field for Latvia, such as digital proficiency, e-governance, digital transformation in moving goods, etc. During the next meetings, the work group will actively keep working on the Position Paper for High Council meeting 2019.

Tax Policy and Administration
Leaders: Aija Kļavinska (Deloitte), Baiba Strupiša (Irish Latvian Chamber of Commerce)
Tax work group is working on issues related to tax administration and policy. The work group is closely following developments in Latvia's tax system and tax administration, and actively coming up with proposals for the State Reveneu 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.

Intellectual Property Protection
Leader: Ingrīda Kariņa-Bērziņa (Cobalt)
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.

Leader: Ilze Kramiņa (Eversheds Sutherland Bitāns)
The FICIL Construction work group has been a very active participant of the Latvian legal environment, contributing to the improvement of the construction regulations and investment environment in all governmental levels. 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.

Investment Protection and Court Efficiency
Leader: Māris Vainovskis (Eversheds Sutherland Bitāns)
Next meeting: February 8, 2019 at 15:00 at FICIL office, Strēlnieku 1, 3rd floor
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 effeciency and improvements in the Comercial 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.

Healthcare Issues
Leader: Daina Dzirkale (GlaxoSmithCline)
Given that the healthcare system is an important topic for every entrepreneur, FICIL has established the Healthcare issues work group. The Healthcarre issues work group is looking at Healthcare Financing Law adopted in the end of last year.

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 January 31, 2019) 

We re-affirm our commitment to the values that AmCham stands for and that we share.

Kārlis Danēvičs, Board member, Head of Credits and Risk at SEB Banka