“Latvia highly appreciates the fact that the Korean company Samsung Electronics has chosen Riga as its regional centre for operations and has thus recognised the advantages our country offers. The company’s products are popular in Latvia; therefore, I invite Samsung Electronics to expand its operations in Latvia,” emphasised Solvita Āboltiņa, Speaker of the Saeima, when meeting with representatives of Samsung Electronics on Wednesday, 22 May, during her official visit to the Republic of Korea.
Samsung is one of the largest Southeast Asian investors in Latvia, and that is why the Speaker of the Saeima drew the attention of the company’s representatives to the competitive advantages of our country, including its convenient geographical location and experience in cooperating with Russia and other post-Soviet states. Āboltiņa urged Samsung to use Latvia as a gateway to the Russian and CIS markets, emphasising that our country supports and implements joint projects in these markets.
In characterising the advantages of our country, the Speaker of the Saeima said: “Latvia plays a crucial role in the European transit and logistics system with our well-developed railway and port infrastructure, as well as our competitive labour force. This is confirmed by the fact that the United States and other Western countries use Latvia’s ports and transit infrastructure to transport non-military cargoes to Afghanistan.”
Āboltiņa informed the Samsung representatives about her recent meeting with Joseph Jeongwoo Kim, President of Samsung Electronics Baltics, during which they discussed the company’s expansion plans in Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia. The Speaker of the Saeima expressed her gratitude that the company is an active and socially responsible investor in Latvia and other Baltic States and that it participates in health, education and sports projects.
“Latvia is interested in having constructive, active and long-term bilateral relations with the Republic of Korea. This visit attests to our intent. We have all the prerequisites for deepening economic cooperation – the Free Trade Agreement between the European Union and the Republic of Korea has been signed, a convention on avoidance of double taxation has also been signed, an investment protection agreement has been concluded and a visa-free regime has been established,” Āboltiņa emphasised.
During the meeting, Latvia’s economic situation was also discussed. Āboltiņa stressed that Latvia’s economy is continuing to grow rapidly. Its GDP increase of 5.6% in the first quarter of this year is the highest rate in the EU. Āboltiņa also noted that this achievement enables Latvia to move towards two strategic goals, i.e. to join the euro area on 1 January 2014 and to become a member of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development.
From 21 to 25 May, Solvita Āboltiņa, Speaker of the Saeima, is on an official visit to Republic of Korea, where she is meeting Kang Chang-hee, Speaker of the National Assembly of the Republic of Korea; Chung Hong-won, Prime Minister of the Republic of Korea; and Byun Jae-ill, Chairman of the Korea-Latvia Parliamentary Friendship Group. During the visit, several other meetings are planned to give an insight into South Korea’s business and cultural environment.
Saeima Press Service