Kučinskis in Budapest for China summit

Prime Minister Maris Kučinskis is in Budapest, Hungary, on Monday, November 27, to attend the 16 + 1 Summit of Central and Eastern European governments and the Chinese government.

Within the framework of the visit, the Prime Minister will participate in the opening of the 16 + 1 Economic, Trade and Finance Forum, the government press service said.

It is planned that the summit will discuss issues related to investment attraction, tourism development, as well as transport and logistics, which is the main priority of Latvia at this summit. 

Within the framework of the visit, a bilateral meeting between Prime Minister Kučinskis and Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang will be held in Budapest during which the economic cooperation between the two countries will be discussed.

16 + 1 is a Chinese initiative to activate cooperation with 11 EU Member States and 5 Balkan countries (Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Croatia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Montenegro, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia , Slovenia, Hungary) in the fields of investment, transport, finance, science, education and culture. 

The 16 + 1 summit took place for the first time in 2012 in Warsaw, Poland. Last year's summit was held in Riga, and as LSM reported at the time, the occasion was used to announce the founding of a new Chinese investment vehicle called the "SINO-CEEF Holding Company Limited" with much fanfare - though little has been heard about it since.

In May this year, the South China Morning Post reported the fund was mulling investments in Europe from a list of about 100 projects, but had not actually made any investments yet.

The holding company that runs the fund is invested by a subsidiary of Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, the nation’s biggest state-owned bank.

China is the second most important Latvian trade partner outside the EU behind Russia, as well as the largest trading partner in the Far East. Since 2012, exports of Latvian goods to China have almost tripled, reaching 119 million euros, while the number of Chinese tourists in Latvia has risen to almost 20 thousand per annum.

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