Welcome to Latvia (see "Welcome to my Country" by Brainstorm), and welcome to the Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Latvia (CanCham).
The CanCham was established in 1999 as the Canada-Latvia Business Association (CLBA) with the purpose of helping Canadians do business in Latvia, and connecting Latvians to Canadians to develop strategic partnerships for their businesses (but we also do it for anyone else who is from out of town).
A former North American client of mine involved in a $50 million project once said to me when we met – “I’m not totally sure what you’re going to do, but you’re hired. I know I need you, because you were raised and educated in the west and understand how I do things, and you know the local culture.” This person had built numerous plants internationally, and clearly knew his own strengths and weaknesses. The plant was built fast – on time and on budget. Best project I ever had!
Latvia and Northern Europe is a challenge for Canadians. We see Canadians thinking as North Americans when they do business here – not as Europeans. There are subtle differences. The failure to recognize these results in disappointment. If you have tried doing business here and not achieved the desired results – talk to us. We’ll tell you why. There are intrinsic similarities between Canada and Latvia. Canada to Latvia is like the US to Canada, but once you get over the idea of size (and sometimes distance), Canada is made up of small regions very similar to Latvia. That’s why Latvians feel comfortable in Quebec City, Montreal, Toronto, Calgary, Vancouver, etc. Latvians also have a positive perception of Canadians, which is something to be taken advantage of. Latvia is positioned for success. See Presentation on Latvia But we now have a unique, once in a life-time opportunity. The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), the Canada/European Union free trade agreement is expected to be ratified shortly removing most tariffs between the EU and Canada. See europa.eu/trade/canada/. This will provide major export opportunities for EU and Canadian companies. Now, more than ever before, Latvia is positioned for success. As the centre of Northern Europe and the gateway to both the east and the EU, now is the time to prepare for better things to come.
Let’s come together, network, and develop new opportunities.