Report on CanChamís Focus on Connecting Canada and Latvia with Artis Pabriks

CanChamís Focus on Connecting Canada and Latvia took place on Friday, March 16, 2018 at 11.30 at the Radisson Blu Daugava Hotel, 24 Kugu Street.

Ed Kalvins opened the luncheon meeting with the following announcements: (see CanCham 180316 Announcements New)  

New members:

  • Senior Corporate Ė Bite Business
  • Corporate - FF International Movers, Venturecorp Property Holdings Limited, MON Projekts
  • Business: RŻjienas oga, Luxus Chocolate, Alma Clinic
  • Individual: ZS Medigas,  Milad Asdaghi
  • Associate: Andrejs –Ūesters

Ed Kalvins then briefly spoke about what the CanCham is doing regarding CETA.

Since Canada has a population of 35 million and the EU Ė 500 million, Canada will be looking to the EU as a potential major market. Latvia offers not only entry into the EU, but is also a natural bridge into Russia and CIS countries. Since small and medium business are an inherent component of the Canadian economic landscape, partnering with Latvian business can be an attractive proposition.

Ed Kalvins presented CanChamís revised strategy to work with small & medium businesses in connecting Canada and Latvia. He indicated that the approach using missions was difficult and appeared inappropriate for the times (see An approach using facilitators in Canada and Latvia would be used to connect needs to solutions, particularly when it comes to exporting products and services to Canada, or importing same from Canada. This concept will be developed in the weeks to come.

Artis Pabriks (Unity), the European Parliament Member appointed as the EP's chief rapporteur on the EU-Canada free-trade agreement (CETA) presented an informative, interesting and concise review on the status of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), the Canada/European Union free trade agreement. See

On 21 September 21st, 2017 CETA entered into force provisionally. As such most of the agreement now applies. National parliaments in EU countries will then need to approve CETA before it can take full effect. Latvia was the first EU country to do so on February 23rd, 2017. 95 Latvian companies export to Canada. The value of Latvian exports to Canada is Ä32 million while the value of Latvian imports from Canada is Ä21 million.

Mr Pabriks indicated that public authorities needed to provide more assistance to entrepreneurs in order to better understand the benefits CETA. Although the agreement has been implemented, it is not always clear to the business community how it works in practice and how customs and the like have changed to accommodate it. A CanCham member who imports hockey equipment from Canada indicated that customs officials were not aware of paperwork related issues which was causing him difficulties. Mr Pabriks expressed the hope that Latviaís Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Economics, the Latvian Investment and Development Agency and the State Revenue Service would position themselves to provide competent answers to such questions. H.E. Alain Hausser, Canadian Government Ambassador to Latvia who was also present at the meeting assured those present that Canada was ready to provide a helping hand to entrepreneurs in this matter. Mr Pabriks suggested that a single point of contact should be created to address such issues. The CanCham Board will look into finding an appropriate solution and will direct those with questions to the appropriate authorities.

As a reminder, CETA will help Latvia by:

  • Scrapping customs tariffs for Latvian exporters and importers
  • Helping Latvia's small businesses export more to Canada
  • Encouraging more investment between Latvia and Canada
  • Opening up the Canadian services market to Latvian firms
  • Making it easier for Latvian professionals to work in Canada
  • Enabling Latvian firms to bid for more public contracts in Canada
  • Protecting Latvia's research and creativity

Many CanCham members have asked how they can approach the Canadian Armed Forces to offer their services to the military. We had the opportunity to be addressed by LCdr Stanislas Jacques representing the CAF who provided a presentation on an ďOverview of Contracting for Task Force LatviaĒ - see CanCham 180316 TFL Contracting. LCdr Jacques introduced the CanCham to the policies and procedures involved in the procurement process of TFL, emphasizing that that Requests for Quotations were issued to meet the requirements of TFL in an orderly and well defined manner as outlined in the presentation. He did mention that unsolicited proposals could not be accepted if they did not conform to set policies, and/or because TFL did not have the resources to consider proposals that did not address the needs of TFL. The CanCham, from its part, wished to ensure that TFL was aware of the resources available from its membership and will work with TFL to meet their needs. LCdr Jacques was joined by MWO Desmond. Together they were able to discuss practicalities with those present and meet some of the membership. We thank LCdr Jacques for his explanations and promise to support their efforts when required.

The luncheon took place in the in the Talavera section of the Radisson BLU Daugava. A tasty cherry tomato salad was served as an ''Hors d'oeuvre'', followed by the main course of salmon and potatoes and later rounded of by coffee and cake.

Thanks to all for the pleasant and informative experience.

Presentations can be found at
Pictures available in

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