RIGA - On Wednesday, continuing his visit to Uzbekistan, Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics met with the Vice Prime Minister of Uzbekistan and Minister of Investments and Foreign Trade Sardor Umurzakov. The Latvian Foreign Minister also opened the Latvia-Uzbekistan Business Forum, LETA was told by the Foreign Ministry.
In a meeting with Sardor Umurzakov, the Latvian Foreign Minister praised the work of the Intergovernmental Commission, which is an effective instrument for the development of cooperation in economy and other areas between the two countries. The work initiated by the Business Cooperation Council, which is an instrument complementary to the Commission in the promotion of business contacts and cooperation between companies.
“The large Latvian business delegation and the participation of the top management of business organizations – the Investment and Development Agency of Latvia and the Latvian Employers’ Confederation – is proof of the great interest among Latvian companies in cooperation with Uzbekistan, the Latvian Foreign Minister underlined. The visiting businesspeople represent various fields, including transport, food industry, green technologies, pharmaceuticals, and ICT. I am certain that the Business Cooperation Council and the Business Forum are providing the businesses with an opportunity to build new contacts and get acquainted with Uzbekistani companies. We hope that new cooperation projects will be created,” Rinkevics underlined.
As the Latvian Foreign Minister spoke about the directions of cooperation, he noted that it was essential to promote and diversify the range of exports of goods and services to the Uzbekistani market, especially those with high value added. “Cooperation in the transport sector is of major importance for both the countries. The recently established Latvian-Uzbekistani Transport Working Group will make it possible to effectively address cooperation-related matters. We see Uzbekistan as a strategic partner in developing Eurasian transport routed; therefore, we are interested in increasing rail freight and promoting deliveries of Uzbekistan’s export goods to Northern Europe through Latvian ports. We also see a significant potential in the segment of air cargo both between Latvia and Uzbekistan, and from other Asian countries through Tashkent to Riga. We are interested in the further strengthening of cooperation in the agricultural sector between the competent ministries and authorities and between higher education institutions, especially in the fields of animal husbandry, biological agriculture, food and veterinary surveillance. Cooperation in forestry has a great potential,” Rinkevics underlined.
The Minister also noted that Latvian companies were interested in transferring their expertise in the area of “green” and sustainable development, notably in the modernization of waste processing, wastewater and drinking water purification, and the introduction of environmentally friendly and energy efficient technologies.
“The broad profile of the participants of the Business Forum evidences the successful cooperation between our two countries and interest on the part of companies to expand it further. I am happy that our vast business delegation of 32 participants is representing a large variety of sectors – transport, food industry, green technologies, pharmaceuticals, information and communication technologies. Regardless of a certain decrease in bilateral trade under the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are aware of a high potential for business cooperation, in particular, in the areas with high value added,'' the Latvian foreign minister emphasized.
''Latvia, being a member state of NATO, the European Union, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the euro area, is a reliable business partner. We are part of the Nordic and Baltic region, which is one of the most rapidly growing and competitive regions of Europe. Latvia would like to continue sharing its experience with Uzbekistan in the introduction of dependable and economically viable environmentally friendly technologies,'' he pointed out.
''Regardless of the distance between our capital cities exceeding 4000 km, we are connected. Air traffic makes it possible to intensify economic cooperation and contacts in business and tourism, which allows us to use as the airports of the two countries transit hubs. We highly value the successful cooperation in the air transportation sector, especially the fact that Uzbekistan Airways resumed regular flights between Tashkent and Riga in May 2021,'' Rinkevics went on to say.
''With its advantageous geographical location and well-developed infrastructure, Latvia is a prospective gateway for both north-south and the east-west trade flows. We regard our country as a strategic partner in transport connections between East and Central Asia, the Black Sea region’s countries and Europe,” Rinkevics said at the opening of the Latvia-Uzbekistan Business Forum in Tashkent.
While in Uzbekistan, Rinkevics also gave an interview to the Uzbekistan 24 TV channel.