The Baltic Course

   Autumn/winter 2000

IN THIS ISSUE:
ECONOMY
POLITICS
PORTS
GAS & CHEMISTRY
TECHNOLOGY
TRADE
TEXTILES
FINANCE
MEDICINE
ECONOMY
In Search of the Baltic Tiger
This article was triggered by the unsatisfactory rate of Latvian GDP per capita, the poorest one among the countries of Central and Eastern Europe moving onto the market line ten years ago. To our mind, the sharp fall has been caused by a complete collapse of large-scale industry in Latvia. Our analysis aims to figure out the current role of industry in the context of economic development of the Baltic States.

POLITICS

The Baltic bid for Kazakhstan
Kazakh Minister of Foreign Affairs Erlan Idrisov visited all three Baltic States at the end of May, where he met both state officials and businessmen. Talks was mostly on politics and economics. The minister's visit provides a foundation for a new and more active era in the relationship between Kazakhstan and the Baltics. In conclusion of the visit, Idrisov gave an interview to BK's editor in chief Janis Domburs and editor Inese Gaiks.


PORTS

The winner takes it all
Despite the fact that the Baltic-Russian relationship is a coin with many sides, oil transit routes through Baltic ports are one of the most profitable and perspective branches of Baltic economies. More than ten oil terminals deal with oil transit from Russia, Belarus and other CIS countries to western markets. Russia's heating oil transported via Ventspils last year helped stabilize the level of oil products supplied to the USA; this year oil is even being transported via Butinge to Uruguay.


GAS & CHEMISTRY

The Gas Vertical
Ventspils, well-known as a transit Mecca,has decided to build a complex for chemical processing and gas transshipment, also producing gas products with annual processing capacity of 100-300 thousand tonnes for export to European countries.


TECHNOLOGIES

The Business of the Future
Information technology in the Baltics is an industry with incredibly low total turnover indicators. This is quite an amazing fact taking into account the industry's future prospects. Turnover for the leading companies increases annually by 50%, and one can only hope that the forecasts come true for the IT industry and the telecommunications sector to take over 15% of Baltic GDP in the next coming years.


TRADE

What's Your Brand Name?
Any serious businessman does his best to register his/her trademark when entering a new market. Even so, the use of other's trademarks has become a profitable business. The turnover for fake brand names is growing from year to year. As regards to profit, some estimations show that the theft of trademarks can be compared to organised crime - the weapon trade and the drug market.


TEXTILES

Charging Europe
Over the past decade, the clothing industry has become a crucial part of the Baltic economy and one of the major three exports for all three of the States. Most of the textile and garment exports go to European Union member states. Newly established Estonian clothing company Ilves-Extra, Lithuanian flax producers and Latvian textile companies running the old Soviet Rigas Manufaktura as several separate enterprises, are the main figures of this article.


FINANCE

Are Your Pockets Bulging?
We've lived under capitalism for the past 10 years. If we take a closer look at the list of top Balts with officially registered property in company stakes we may not actually find those people we all thought the richest.


MEDICINE
Test-Tube Babies
The first test-tube baby in Latvia celebrated his fifth birthday this year. The clinic helping families to continue the human race is situated in an old building in a green area of the Estonian city Tartu. Director of the clinic Andrei Syritsa and associate professor of the Chair of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at Tartu University feels more like a gambler than a trainer of his well-knit team.