China interested in Rail Baltica, airBaltic investment

China has expressed interest in investing in the Rail Baltica railroad and national airline airBaltic, LETA learned from the Transport Ministry Thursday.

According to the ministry, Chinese National Development and Reform Commission's Vice Chairman Ning Jizhe had a meeting with Transport Minister Uldis Augulis (Greens/Farmers) in Riga Thursday, confirming that it was important for China to develop container train traffic to Latvia and Northern Europe, and expressing interest in investing in the Rail Baltica railroad project and national airline airBaltic.

Jizhe also underlined Latvia's role in the 16+1 format (16 Eastern European countries plus China).

Augulis said that Latvia was continuing to popularize itself as a Northern European logistics hub by linking up partners in China and Central Asia with transport and logistics companies in the West.

China has also supported a proposal to cooperate in defining transport corridors between the Trans-European Transport Networks and China's One Belt, One Road initiative.

During the Thursday meeting, China's representatives were also informed about the latest developments in Latvian transit and logistics sector and Latvia's main transport infrastructure projects. 

The Chinese delegation comprising members of the NDRC, officials from the Foreign Ministry, the Transport Ministry, the China Development Bank and representatives of several companies specializing in transport and logistics is visiting Riga this week. Friday the delegation met Economics Minister Arvils Aseradens (Unity), discussing cooperation and investments.

China is the 15th largest of Latvia's foreign trade partners, ranks 51st among foreign investors and 44th by contributions to the share capital of Latvian companies. At present there are 166 companies with the Chinese capital doing business in Latvia. 

As reported, this year Riga will play host to the leaders of China and fifteen countries from Central and Eastern Europe in the 16+1 format.

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