On 26 May, the Latvian Institute of International Affairs hosted a presentation for its latest book entitled “Latvia and the United States: Revisiting a Strategic Partnership in a Transforming Environment” (Latvija un Savienotās Valstis: izvērtējot stratēģisko partnerību mainīgajā vidē).
In his opening remarks at the book launch, the State Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Andrejs Pildegovičs, emphasised the importance of strategic partnership between Latvia and the United States of America in light of the recent geopolitical developments across the globe and in the region. The book is timely, considering discussions currently underway on the outcomes expected from NATO’s Warsaw Summit, the State Secretary noted.
Andrejs Pildegovičs commended the successful cooperation between Latvia and the U.S. in the field of security policy, education and culture. Referring to 2008 when Latvia joined the U.S. Visa Waiver Program, State Secretary Pildegovičs pointed out that Latvia certainly appreciates the advantages of participating in this program.
The State Secretary also pointed out that business cooperation with the U.S. is among the objectives that have been the most difficult to achieve. Although statistical data indicate a gradual increase, there still exists a huge potential for growth. Therefore, it is important that the operations of a representative office of the Investment and Development Agency of Latvia be resumed in the U.S., the State Secretary said.
Andrejs Pildegovičs also expressed hope that Latvia’s accession to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the signing of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership Agreement (TTIP) could be additional stimuli contributing to a more rapid growth in economic cooperation.
Looking back at the period when, since 2009, non-military goods from the U.S. and other NATO members were delivered via Latvia over the Northern Distribution Network, the State Secretary said that the project is a success story of Latvia-U.S. cooperation: more than 100,000 containers of NATO and the United States cargo were transported to Afghanistan via ports in Latvia and the other Baltic States.
In gratitude for the promotion of security and economic aspects of strategic partnership between Latvia and the United States of America, State Secretary Pildegovičs thanked the authors of the book and commended in particular Andris Sprūds, Director of the Latvian Institute of International Affairs, Andris Razāns, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Latvia to the U.S., and the leadership of VAS Latvijas Dzelzceļš (Latvian Railway), all providing significant support for creation of the book.