Transport Minister outlines cooperation plan with Russia

Latvia's Transport Minister Uldis Augulis on August 15 announced a significant increase in the number of road haulage permits that will be issued to transport goods across the Latvia-Russia border.

Speaking on the Morning Panorama news show, Augulis made the announcement after talks yesterday in Riga with his Russian counterpart Maksim Sokolov. As previously reported by LSM, the talks continue today.

Augulis told LTV various "practical issues" were being discussed including customs inspections procedures, bureaucracy and border controls, even though a joint transport working group had already been discussing the same matters for the last four years.

The joint commission of which he is co-chair is "a little bit higher" becomes the center of attention Tuesday and has the power to sign documents, he explained.

Yesterday an agreement was signed on railways which had various aspects including regulation of the type of wagons Russia could send to Latvia, Augulis said. The agreement was in line with EU regulations, he stated. Such measures were required not just for ministries but for exporters, he said.

The minister also revealed what he called "good news for road transport" saying: "This year there will be an increase in auto transport volumes both to and from Russia and in line with that yesterday we decided to increase by 3,000 the number of permits allowing goods deliveries to Russia... this year the number is at a record level, around seven thousand permits."

Road transport to and from Russia was set to increase by around 35% this year, albeit partly as a result of reduced rail freight volumes in sectors such as oil, the minister said.

Other topics discussed included joint Latvian-Russian activities to access the Chinese and Asian markets, Augulis said.

As the pictures below posted by the Transport Ministry show, the meetings involve a large number of participants.

Speaking Tuesday afternoon at the conclusion of the talks, Augulis said the talks had been "important" and "form a good basis for mutual cooperation."

A joint group on humanitarian issues would meet before the end of the year, he added. After statements from the ministers a 'press briefing' was concluded without questions being taken.

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