Co-op with Azerbaijan among priorities of Latvia’s EU Council presidency
Baku, Azerbaijan, Jan. 19
By Jamila Jafarova - Trend:
Cooperation with Eastern Partnership countries, particularly with Azerbaijan, is among high priorities defined during Latvian presidency of the Council of the European Union, Latvia's Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics told Trend Jan. 19.
The minister said that on May 21, 2015, the Latvian capital of Riga will host the Eastern Partnership Business Forum.
"We look forward to Azerbaijani businessmen participating in this business forum," he noted. "We believe that this business forum will provide a new impetus to the business in our two countries."
"Given its excellent railway and port infrastructure, as well as its high labour competitiveness, Latvia has become a strong player in the European transport and logistics sector and we believe this aspect can be appealing to Azerbaijani investors," he added.
Minister Rinkevics also said that among other priority sectors for attracting foreign investment in Latvia there are metal processing and machinery, information technology, life sciences, health care, timber industry, green technology (CleanTech) and the food industry.
"Businessmen in Azerbaijan may want to consider work with successful franchises like Stenders, Dzintars, Madara Cosmetics, Lauma Lingerie, Attirance, Rosme," he added. "The products of these companies would do well in Azerbaijan."
Rinkevics further noted that Latvia considers Azerbaijan as an important partner in the South Caucasus.
"Bilateral relations have been on a good track and we are satisfied with them. The political dialogue between Latvia and Azerbaijan is active and constructive," the minister stressed.
He went on to add that Latvia is looking forward to welcome leaders from Azerbaijan to Riga during Eastern Partnership Summit.
Rinkevics also said it is necessary to put more effort in developing the economic cooperation since it will ultimately benefit the peoples and societies of both countries.
"We see a positive trend in this regard; our trade in first nine month of 2014 has increased by 25 percent," he noted. "Our trade is doing well and it could do even better."
The minister underscored that it is needed to continue unpacking the opportunities of economic cooperation.
"We believe there are good perspectives for businesses in both Azerbaijan and Latvia to get together in the specific areas of IT, health services, industry, ecology and environmental protection," he said.
Minister Rinkevics also noted that Latvia is interested to share its reform experience.
"One way to do this is by expanding our cooperation in field of education and to see more students from Azerbaijan in Latvia's universities," he said, adding that around 125 students from Azerbaijan are at the moment studying in Latvia.
"In 2015, we will continue to offer an advanced programme in European Law and Economics for Eastern Partnership Region and Central Asia, and students from Azerbaijan are welcome," he said.
Latvia will preside over the Council of the European Union from Jan. 1 through June 30, 2015.