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29 Nov 2018

Belarus-Latvia Forum of Regions kicks off in Vitebsk

Belarus-Latvia Forum of Regions kicks off in Vitebsk

VITEBSK, 29 November (BelTA) – Representatives of 19 Latvian regions are expected to take part in the Belarusian-Latvian business forum which kicks off in Vitebsk on 29 November, BelTA learned from the Vitebsk Oblast Executive Committee.

The two-day event is one of the most important economic events during Latvia Days in Belarus. More than 120 people will arrive in Vitebsk as part of the Latvian delegation. It will include representatives of the government administration, the Latvian embassy in Belarus, business organizations and enterprises engaged in light industry, woodworking, transport and logistics, finance and trade. They are coming to a wide range of issues related to trade, economic, investment and interregional cooperation. Plans are in place to sign a number of cooperation agreements.

The business forum is held with the aim of developing economic cooperation and establishing business contacts between entrepreneurs of Vitebsk Oblast and Latvia, attracting investments, enhancing bilateral cooperation, increasing the investment and innovation attractiveness of the northern region.

Speaking about the current state of relations between Belarus’ Vitebsk Oblast and Latvia, the Vitebsk Oblast Executive Committee said that the Euroregion “Country of Lakes”, which was established in Kraslava on 21 May 1998, laid the foundation for contacts between cities and regions. It includes all areas of Vitebsk Oblast bordering on Latvia, the regions of Latgale and the border regions of Lithuania. This is the largest public formation in the territory of Belarus and the Baltic countries within the framework of cross-border cooperation. It unites 27 administrative units.

About 30 joint projects in culture, tourism and sports have been implemented under the Latvia-Lithuania-Belarus program. The parties completed the projects Art Without Borders - Cooperation of the Marc Chagall and Mark Rothko Museums, Bella Dvina, Dvina-Daugava Panorama, Museum Gate, projects on natural disaster prevention, the construction of sports grounds, the arrangement of local centers of arts and crafts. For the new call for proposals of the program "Lithuania-Latvia Belarus", 20 joint proposals were submitted as part of the new competition of the Lithuania-Latvia-Belarus program to implement projects in culture, sports, education, healthcare, and emergency management. The main partners are the regions of Latgale.

Trade and economic cooperation has been steadily expanding. In January-September 2018, Vitebsk Oblast’s trade with Latvia amounted to $61.8 million, or 151.1% compared to the same months a year ago. Trade surplus made $30 million. Latvia is among Vitebsk Oblast’s top ten major trading partners. Vitebsk Oblast’s main exports to Latvia include woodworking products, oil products, polyethylene, liquefied gases, polymer packaging, cable products, textiles, garments, and footwear. This year, the supply of products to the Latvian market has been expanded by commercial organizations that sell woodworking products, fuelwood, metal profiles, clothing, and wooden tableware. Deliveries of rapeseed oil for technical needs have been resumed.

Vitebsk Oblast imports Latvian feed mixtures for animals, plastic, paper and cardboard, equipment for the forestry industry, and medicines.

Today there are 86 Latvia-funded companies in Vitebsk Oblast. DIA-PLAST produces packaging from polyethylene and polypropylene films in the Free Economic Zone Vitebsk. The FEZ is ready for the further implementation of industrial cooperation projects. Joint ventures are registered in the areas of trade, woodworking, road transport services and tailoring services.

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