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Call for permanent Latvian trade rep in US

The American Chamber of Commerce in Latvia (AmCham) and the Latvian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) said Tuesday they are calling on the Latvian government to open a permanent trade representation bureau in the United States.

AmCham and LCCI said in a press release they had sent a "position paper" to the Prime Minister, Ministers of Economics and Foreign Affairs, Chairmen of the Saeima Economic, Agricultural, Environmental and Regional Policy Committee and the Foreign Affairs Committee as well as the Ambassador of Latvia to the US calling for the establishment a permanent economic representation office of Latvia in the US.

"The establishment of the Latvian economic office in the US is a critical component to enhancing the bilateral trade and investment," the statement said.

Arnis Kakulis, Chairman of the Board and President of AmCham said openign an office would 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,” Kakulis said.

According to the Guidelines of the Export of Goods and Services and the Promotion of Foreign Investment approved by the Cabinet of Ministers of Latvia, the US is viewed as a high-priority country for attracting FDI for Latvia, yet the previous economic representation office located in Washington D.C was closed as Latvia cut costs during a severe economic crisis.

Although both Latvian exports of goods and services to the US are steadily increasing, only 1.3% of all Latvian exports reach the US, yet the American and Caribbean countries are among top five priority markets of LCCI members.

“After surveying our members, LCCI noticed that many of them are interested in the US market. Our objective is to find ways not only how they can start exports or attract investments, but also how to create successful and long-term cooperation,” said Janis Endzins, Chairman of the LCCI.

Both business organizations agree that the US is "a vast and significant market, whose appeal will increase even more once the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) between the EU and US is concluded."

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