On Wednesday 30 May, Prime Minister Māris Kučinskis met with representatives of the Movement of Enterprises of France (MEDEF) in Paris.
During the meeting with the MEDEF representatives, the opportunities for economic cooperation in the fields of transport, energy, security and defence, ICT were discussed.
In his address to the French entrepreneurs, the Prime Minister emphasized the need to intensify economic cooperation between the two countries. Latvia and France are actively cooperating in international organizations. Both countries share a common understanding of the values of the European Union (EU). Latvia and France are NATO allies. France has contributed to the security of the Baltic region by ensuring NATO’s expanded presence and by participating in the NATO Air Policing Mission and NATO StratCom Centre.
As regards the situation in Latvia, M. Kučinskis pointed out that, in 2017, the OECD recognized Latvia as the country that most effectively carried out structural reforms. Latvia is one of the fastest growing EU member states. In the first four months of this year, GDP in Latvia grew by 5.2%. We are making significant changes to the education and health systems.
“This year the tax reform was launched, which benefits companies investing in their development. It provides that the corporate income tax is deferred until the profit is distributed at the rate of 20%, thus causing significant changes in strengthening business development and capitalization, as well as in leveraging investment, “said M. Kučinskis.
A special system to support start-ups has been developed. The Prime Minister also expressed confidence that Latvia, Rīga have all the prerequisites for becoming an innovation and technology platform in Northern Europe.
The concept of Data Driven Nation is currently developed in Latvia. It involves higher education institutions, scientists and entrepreneurs, and provides world-class solutions in the areas such as quantum computing, computer vision and modern language technologies.
“We see good opportunities for cooperation among the universities of Latvia and France in the areas of satellite technologies, biotechnologies, unmanned systems and material sciences,” said M. Kučinskis.
It was also pointed out that Latvia – the centre of the region, provides multimodal transport and logistics solutions from East to West, from North to South connecting Northern Europe, Russia and CIS countries.
The ports of Latvia can be used for the supply of component parts from France to Russia and CIS countries. Latvia and France are well connected – regular flights connect Rīga to Paris, Nice and Bordeaux. The Riga International Airport can serve as a platform for tourism and business flows in northern Europe and Central Asia.
Export volume to France last year amounted to EUR 187.89 million, which is by 16.17% or EUR 26.15 million more than in 2016. The main export goods of Latvia to France: timber and articles thereof (31.25%); machinery, electrical equipment (20.83%); vehicles (13.78%); various industrial goods (11.19%).