During the UAE-Latvia Business Forum
H.E. Valdis Dombrovskis, Prime Minister of the Republic of Latvia, who headed a Latvian business delegation to Dubai as part of the country’s Gulf tour, said that Latvia is keen to strengthen bilateral ties with the UAE as the two countries’ business cooperation has huge potential and can be converted into joint investment opportunities.
The Latvian Prime Minister’s statement came during his official visit to the first UAE-Latvia Business Forum organised by Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry in cooperation with Investment Development Agency of Latvia at the Chamber headquarters on Monday.
The forum was attended by a large number of top officials representing a cross-section of private sector companies in Dubai as well as representatives of business councils and business groups operating under the umbrella of Dubai Chamber.
"I strongly believe that life is made of opportunities and this is our opportunity to develop close business ties that will contribute to prosperity of our two countries,” said H.E. Valdis Dombrovskis.
"Latvia is a gateway to Western Europe, Scandinavian countries or Russia, depending from where you come and which way you want to go. Latvia is also a safe place to do business in,” said the Latvian Prime Minister.
He added, “Last year, Latvia ranked 21st in the world according to World Bank's Doing Business index which measures the openness of business environment. With each year, the UAE is gaining more and more strength and influence in global economy and I believe there are many things our countries can share."
H.E. Valdis Dombrovskis informed that Latvia’s main exports to UAE are machinery and electronics (66%), food products (14%), vehicles (6%), woodwork (5%) as well as chemical products and pharmacies (2%). In 2010 the total turnover of trade between Latvia and UAE was €22.2m ($30m) which is 80% more than in 2009.
In his welcome address, H.E. Abdul Rahman Saif Al Ghurair, Chairman, Dubai Chamber, urged the visiting Latvian business delegation to benefit from Dubai’s lucrative investment opportunities, re-export facilities including world-class logistics and financial services as well as unconditional Government support.
“Dubai offers an East meets West location and easy access to regional markets of 2.2 billion consumers while Latvia, with its strategic location has established itself as an important crossroad for international trade and commerce hence we see a huge potential for businesses from both sides to work together and turn this opportunity to do better business in the future,” said H.E. Al Ghurair.
The Chairman of Dubai Chamber further stressed that trade, including exports and re-exports, financial services, logistics and tourism are the driving forces of Dubai’s economy, and urged the Latvian companies to invest in Dubai and take the two countries’ economic ties to the next level.
“The exploring of the East European markets is part of a Dubai Chamber strategy which began with the recommendations of HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice-President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, and this UAE Latvia Business Forum is a step in that direction as we look at this as an opportunity to strengthen our economic ties and benefit from the investment potential offered by both the countries," added H.E. Al Ghurair.
In the first five months of 2011, Dubai’s non-oil trade with Latvia valued at AED 43.4 million as the country ranked 123rd on the list of Dubai’s top trading partners. Presently, there are a few Latvian partnership and ownership companies registered with Dubai Chamber, and there is tremendous scope for more investors to set up businesses in the Emirate, said H.E. Al Ghurair.
He informed that the exports and re-exports of Dubai Chamber members to Latvia in 2011 has grown by 101.4% as the value rose to AED 17.8 million compared to AED 8.8 million in 2010.
H.E. Daniels Pavļuts, Latvian Minister of Economy, spoke about the business and investment opportunities in his country which was followed by a presentation on Latvia’s key economic sectors including transportation and logistics, finance, biotechnology, agriculture and IT. On its part, Dubai Chamber also provided an introductory presentation about Dubai and its investment opportunities to the visiting business delegates.