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International Internet Magazine. Baltic States news & analytics Friday, 19.10.2018, 00:07

Latvia’s priority in 16+1 format is cooperation in transport and logistics

BC, Riga, 28.11.2017.Print version
Latvia’s priority in the 16+1 cooperation format (Central and Eastern Europe and China) is cooperation in transport and logistics, said Latvian Prime Minister Maris Kucinskis (Greens/Farmers) addressing the 16+1 summit participants in Budapest yesterday, writes LETA.


The prime minister is taking part in the Central and Eastern European and China (16+1) summit in Budapest, Hungary.


The summit is to discuss issues related with attraction of investments, development of the tourism sector, transport and logistics.


Addressing heads of governments, Kucinskis noted that Latvia has set cooperation in transport and logistics as its priority. There is a 16+1 Logistics Coordination Secretariat opened in Riga. "During this year since the summit was held in Riga, we have started practical operations in China’s Road and Belt Initiative and we continue work to establish efficient connectivity. In the past year we worked to organize Latvia-China container train, and I hope, in the nearest time the first test trains will turn into a regular and stable container train traffic. We are actively working with China cargo owners and logistics service providers," said Kucinskis.


He also underscored that the work should be continued to develop synergy between EU initiatives (Investment Plan for Europe, Trans-European Transport Network) and China’s initiatives (Belt and Road, Three Seas (Baltic, Adriatic, Black Sea).

Tourism is another priority cooperation sectors in the context of connectivity in the 16+1 format. Kucinskis said that he sees Riga as a city connecting flows of tourists and business travelers. China has been defined as one of Latvia’s priority far-distance tourism destination market.


The prime minister said that the number of tourists from China to Latvia has risen sixfold since 2010. Latvia’s goal is to open direct flights between Latvia and China. In 2019 Latvia plans to host a high-level 16+1 conference on cooperation in tourism, he said.


The China and Central-Eastern European countries cooperation formal (16+ 1) promotes cooperation between China and 16 European countries - the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Poland, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina - in different areas, including transport, finances, science, education, and culture. The first summit was held in 2012 in Warsaw, Poland.


China is Latvia’s second largest trade partner outside the EU after Russia, and the main trade partner in the Far East. Since 2012, the export of Latvian goods to China has more than tripled, rising to EUR 119 million, while the number of Chinese tourists has increased to almost 20,000. Latvian institutions are working actively to attract tourists from China so that direct flights between Latvia and China could be launched in the long term.

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