Kerry: Latvia has mul­ti­ple ad­van­tages when com­pared with other coun­tries

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Latvia is an at­trac­tive place for in­vest­ments. It has a great po­ten­tial for for­eign in­vest­ments, com­ments U.S. Sec­re­tary of State John Kerry, who ar­rived in Riga this week to learn more about the sit­u­a­tion in Latvia and con­sider in­vest­ment op­tions.

Kerry, who is con­sid­er­ing be­com­ing an in­vestor, ar­rived in Riga be­cause he be­lieves this part of the world has enor­mous po­ten­tial. «The coun­try is de­vel­op­ing faster than the rest of Europe,» said Kerry, adding that peo­ple look at places like Latvia that have gov­ern­ments want­ing to move for­ward, a well re­al­ized pol­icy, peo­ple will­ing to work and ex­ter­nal trade within the EU and out­side it.

He added that Latvia’s ex­port and in­dus­trial in­dexes con­tinue in­creas­ing. «If I’m not mis­taken, your in­dus­trial in­dexes have grown by 5.5% and your GDP in­dex has grown more rapidly than the rest of Europe. Be­cause of that, this looks like the place where things get done and op­por­tu­ni­ties shine,» Kerry said.

The for­mer U.S. Sec­re­tary of State be­lieves Latvia has mul­ti­ple ad­van­tages over other coun­tries. «You have a pow­er­ful ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem. You have a pre­pared and work-happy labour force. You are an EU mem­ber state, which is im­por­tant for com­pli­ance with reg­u­la­tions and stan­dards in trust and trans­parency. You have the will and de­mand. Those are im­por­tant pre­req­ui­sites for a sus­tain­able mar­ket,» he said. He also men­tioned Latvia’s his­tory. «The coun­try is part of tra­di­tions left from the Hanseatic League. It is a cap­i­tal of those tra­di­tions. Latvia showed an ex­am­ple to the rest of the world by mak­ing a choice in 1991 and re­main­ing true to our com­mon values. Peo­ple have to learn more about Latvia, Es­to­nia and Lithua­nia. You’ve man­aged to pro­tect your po­si­tions un­der the shadow of ma­jor threats the en­tire world may not be aware of. I am cer­tain you have for­ti­tude, which is some­thing to be proud of,» Kerry com­ments.

Kerry agrees that the in­ter­est of Amer­i­can investors for the Baltic re­gion has in­creased over the course of the past sev­eral years. This is also re­lated to se­cu­rity guar­an­tees pro­vided by USA and NATO. «I think we can talk about changes on the game field. What I mean is pres­i­dent Barack Obama’s de­clared sup­port cer­ti­fi­ca­tion pro­gramme, which we re­al­ized two years ago, qua­dru­pling sup­port for front-line coun­tries to USD 3.4 bil­lion. We have com­menced co­op­er­a­tion with Poland, Canada, Latvia, Ger­many, UK and other Baltic States,» Kerry explains.

The for­mer U.S. Sec­re­tary of State ad­mits in­vest­ments do have ties with cur­rent geopo­lit­i­cal chal­lenges. This is be­cause eco­nomic pol­icy and for­eign pol­icy nowa­days are closely as­so­ci­ated with one an­other – in­vest­ments strengthen coun­tries and bring the much-needed se­cu­rity in the cur­rent geopo­lit­i­cal sit­u­a­tion. When he was in charge of the U.S. De­part­ment of State, he tried as­sist­ing other coun­tries’ growth: «I want to re-em­pha­size just how im­por­tant eco­nomic pol­icy is for for­eign pol­icy and vice-versa. If we look at the Arab Spring, the sit­u­a­tion in Ukraine – peo­ple ev­ery­where de­sire re­spon­si­bil­ity, trans­parency, eco­nomic op­por­tu­ni­ties. Peo­ple do not want cor­rupt busi­nesses to steal their fu­ture,» Kerry said.

He did not say if he would in­vest in Latvia. Nev­er­the­less, he said that this visit is an opportunity for him to learn more about Latvia, its neigh­bours and how they be­come stronger and pro­vide bet­ter wel­fare to their res­i­dents. «I am here to look at the sit­u­a­tion from the inside; look at the needs and what is ex­pected from the fu­ture,» Kerry noted.


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