On Thursday, 7 September, Gundars Daudze, Deputy Speaker of the Saeima, met with Ma Biao, Vice Chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, at the Saeima. During the meeting Deputy Speaker Daudze emphasised: “Latvia and China share an active and pragmatic political dialogue, as well as an intensive exchange of visits at all levels. We can gladly say that our bilateral relations are currently at their highest point ever. This is also reflected in the growing economic cooperation and trade turnover.”
“The parliament of Latvia supports ever closer cooperation between both countries; since 1996, all convocations of the Saeima have established groups for inter-parliamentary relations with the Chinese parliament, and this group is currently one of the largest,” the Deputy Speaker of the Saeima noted.
Deputy Speaker Daudze emphasised that, over the years, a good foundation has been set for strengthening cooperation in trade and investments, transport and logistics, as well as education and culture.
Both officials highlighted the 16+1 format of cooperation as an important tool for China and Central and Eastern European countries. Deputy Speaker Daudze noted that Latvia’s priorities in the framework of the 16+1 cooperation are focused on the transport sector, promoting trade and student exchange projects. He proceeded to say that Latvia sees a place for itself as an international transport hub within the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative.
The Deputy Speaker of the Saeima stated: “Latvia offers an opportunity to invest in projects at ports, and Chinese enterprises are welcome to develop cooperation with local companies in the transport and logistics sector. All Latvian ports are open to investments, and we also see great prospects for the planned Rail Baltica logistics centres in Salaspils and Riga airport.”
Deputy Speaker Daudze said: “We observe with great interest the Bolshoy Kamen industrial and logistics centre that is being built in Belarus with Chinese investments. It is an important project for the entire region, and we will gladly share our experience in transport and logistics to deliver Chinese cargo to the rest of Europe.” Furthermore, Deputy Speaker Daudze noted Latvia’s advantageous geographical placement and invited China to make use of the opportunities provided by our railways and ports, as well as to invest in developing port infrastructure, thus creating the necessary prerequisites for expanding the economic cooperation between both countries.
China is Latvia’s most important economic cooperation partner in East Asia. In the first half of this year, our bilateral trade has increased by 14%, and export volumes of Latvian goods, especially foodstuffs, are growing. The number of Chinese tourists coming to Latvia has increased six-fold since 2010.
The Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference is a political advisory body consisting of delegates from various political parties and organisations, as well as independent members. The National Committee holds one session per year coinciding with the plenary session of the National People’s Congress. These two sessions together are often called “The National Two Meetings,” making important national level political decisions.
Ma Biao is also Vice-President of the Chinese People’s Association for Peace and Disarmament. He is visiting Latvia upon an invitation from Gundars Daudze, Deputy Speaker of the Saeima.
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Saeima Press Service