AmCham is a place to meet representatives of other industries and understand the business environment.
Signe Velina, Market Access Manager Latvia of Johnson & Johnson
At the beginning of 2015, AmCham engaged in dialogue to urge Latvian policy makers to establish the permanent economic representation office of Latvia in the US. AmCham insisted that the establishment of the Latvian economic office in the US is a critical component to enhancing the bilateral trade and investment.
In 2015, AmCham Latvia and Latvian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) sent a letter to then Prime Minister Laimdota Straujuma (Unity), Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics (Unity), then Economics Minister Dana Reizniece-Ozola (Greens/Farmers), Saeima Economic, Agricultural, Environmental and Regional Policy Committee and the Foreign Affairs Committee, calling for the establishment a permanent economic representation office of Latvia in the United States.
We are glad that our advocacy effort has succeeded and in January 2017 Toms Zvidrins has been appointed as the Head of Latvian economic representation in the United States. We welcome Toms Zvidrins in his new position and we are looking forward to working closely with the new office to develop stronger business ties with the US.
The first Latvia's economic representation in the United States opened in 2005 but was shut down during the economic crisis in 2009.
Arnis Kakulis, Chairman of the Board and President of AmCham Latvia emphasizes the necessity to of an economic representation office in order to promote and expand Latvian exports in the US, increase the number of Latvian-based companies looking at doing business in the US as well as to attract more American investment to Latvia: “I am convinced that a permanent economic representation office of Latvia in the US would significantly increase Latvia’s export potential, attract more US investment and strengthen bilateral economic relations, particularly at a time when Latvian entrepreneurs are actively looking to diversify their business due to the crisis in Russia”.
Both statistical data and surveys of Latvian companies indicate that there is significant room for improvement of bilateral trade and investment. Although both Latvian exports of goods and services to the US are steadily increasing, only 1,56% of all Latvian exports reach the US. With this initiative AmCham expressed its willingness to engage in dialogue with the Government and other stakeholders and submit practical recommendations to ensure such a representation is established.
On November 3, 2015 AmCham and the Latvian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) sent a position paper to the Prime Minister Laimdota Straujuma as well as to the Ministers of Economics and Foreign Affairs, Chairmen of the Saeima Economic, Agricultural, Environmental and Regional Policy Committee and the Foreign Affairs Committee and the Ambassador of Latvia the US highlighting three points essential for Latvia in order to tap into immense potential of the unparalleled EU-US trade and investment flow:
1) Latvia should be better and permanently represented in the US;
2) The economic representation office should be efficient and bring results;
3) Outlining the main tasks and responsibilities of the representation office.
Click here to read the letter sent on April 7. (in Latvian)
Click here to read the letter sent on April 7. (in English)
Click here to read the position paper sent on November 3. (in Latvian)
Click here to read the position paper sent on November 3. (in English)
We are very pleased to be part of AmCham and are looking forward to driving innovation forward in Latvia.
Mikko Fernström, General Manager, Biogen Latvia