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Trade and Economic cooperation

Latvia is an important trading partner and investor of the Republic of Belarus, as well as a major transit corridor for Belarusian exports to third countries.

Following the 2018 year Latvia ranked 14 place in turnover and 10 place in export (share — 1.4 percent ) among countries with which Belarus carries foreign trade.

Trade turnover between Belarus and Latvia in 2014 -2018 years

million US dollars

Indicators

201 4

2015

2016

2017

2018

Turnover

651.8

675.2

340.0

439.7

582.7

Export

501.5

598.1

269.9

350.9

485.6

Import

150.3

77.1

70.1

88.8

97.1

Balance

351.2

521.0

199.8

262.1

388.5

 

In 2018 year the bilateral trade amounted to 582.7 million dollars (132.9 percent growth to 2017 year), the Belarusian export reached 485.6 million (138.8 percent), import — 97.1 million dollars (109.7 percent). Balance has developed positively for Belarus in the amount of 388.5 million dollars.

The main export items to Latvia are products of the forestry and woodworking industries, petroleum products, petrochemicals, metal products, fertilizers, insulated wires and cables, building materials, alcohol products.

From Latvia Belarus imports medicines, equipment, food products, textile and plastic products.

In January-July 2019 year the export of Belarusian goods to Latvia amounted to 272.6 million dollars (88.1 percent compared to the level of 2018 year).

In 2018 year export of services to Latvia amounted to 188.2 million dollars (129.6 percent growth), imports — 64.5 million dollars (114.1 percent) and the balance is positive — plus 123.7 million dollars. The total export volume is dominated by transport, business, computer, telecommunications and tourism services.

In January-June 2019 year export of services amounted to 84 million dollars (101,5 percent), import — 34.4 million dollars (123,4 percent), balance — plus 49.6 million dollars.

In the 2018 year from Latvia to the Belarusian economy were attracted investments in the amount of 107.5 million (85.7 percent compared to 2017 year) including direct investments 82.1 million dollars (70.8 percent).

 Dynamics of investments from Latvia to Belarus in 2014 -201 8 years

million US dollars

Indicators

201 4

201 5

201 6

201 7

201 8

Investments,

including:

193.0

101.1

98.7

125.5

107.5

Direct

85.1

56.8

58.7

116.0

82.1

   on a clean basis

20.9

4.6

20.6

61.1

29.7

Other

107.9

44.3

40,0

9.5

25.4

 

In January-June 2019 year from Latvia into the Belarusian economy were attracted investments in the amount of 52.4 million dollars (88.7 percent growth), including direct investments — 39.5 million dollars (73.9 percent), others — 12.9 million dollars (229.4 percent).

There are 585 enterprises with Latvian capital in Belarus. Latvian investors are interested in implementing projects in the fields of trade, services, woodworking, pharmaceuticals, food production.

The main projects with Latvian capital in Belarus are: the creation of restaurant network (the Latvian company «Ankols & Partners»), a network of movie theaters (New Europe Cinema) and the modernization of cable television and internet (company «Rem Pro»). In 2015 year the milk processing group «Food Union» acquired the assets of «Ingman IceCream» JLLC (Gomel). In 2016 year the pharmaceutical company «Olainfarm» purchased 100 percent of the shares of the manufacturer of herbal preparations and food supplements «NPK Biotest» (Grodno). The Baltic group of companies «Jysk” (headquartered in Riga) created a retail network of household goods in Belarus.

The strategic direction of the Belarusian-Latvian cooperation remains the transport and transit sector. Perspective areas for cooperation are woodworking, pharmaceuticals, food production, tourism.

Latvian companies are actively using the electronic platform of the Belarusian Universal Commodity Exchange for the purchase of Belarusian products. The client base of the Latvian representative office of the Exchange includes more than 300 companies with capital from the Baltic countries and their number is constantly growing.

Belarusian companies are interested in participating in the supply of electric buses, agricultural machinery, elevator equipment, building materials, cable and other products to meet the needs of Latvia.

Significant potential for the development of bilateral cooperation exists in the service sector, especially in the information and communication technology industry which has demonstrated steady growth and positive dynamics of mutual trade over the past years.

Work is underway to improve automotive infrastructure and roadside services, create joint tourism products and routes in anticipation of the World Hockey Championship 2021 in Belarus and Latvia in order to maximize the use of tourism potentials of the two countries.

A number of institutional mechanisms have been established to support bilateral economic cooperation.

On a regular basis are held the meetings of :

the Belarusian-Latvian Intergovernmental Commission on trade-economic and scientific-technical cooperation under the chairmanship of the Ministers of Transport of Belarus and Latvia;

the Council for Business Cooperation chaired by the heads of Railways;

the mixed commission for international road traffic and the working group on transport.

The 13th meeting of the Belarusian-Latvian Intergovernmental Commission on trade-economic and scientific-technical cooperation as well as a Business Council held in September 2018 year in Riga. Next meeting of the Intergovernmental Commission is scheduled for October 2019 in Minsk.

On February 2018 in Minsk the prime ministers of the two countries signed an Intergovernmental Memorandum of Understanding on the main areas of economic cooperation for the medium term. In July 2018 was approved a Plan of activities of the Government of Republic of Belarus and the Government of the Republic of Latvia on the main directions of cooperation in the medium term.