Report on CanCham’s Focus on Exports and Strategic Partners, September 10th, 2018

The CanCham Focus on Exports and Strategic Partners took place on Monday, September 10, 2018 at the Unity Business Centre, 109 Vienîbas gatve, Riga as a working session in the form of a “roundtable” type discussion on how the CanCham will help its members develop business opportunities with those abroad.

This applied to those interested in exporting their products or services, or who are looking for strategic partners for business development purposes (including importing products and services from abroad) and/or financing. Particular emphasis is on Canada, but we also consider other regions where our members are active including the USA, Scandinavia, India, Taiwan, etc. 

Those who support the export group (such as logistics, promotion, business support and market entry specialists) also participated.

The meeting was chaired by Richard Hunter, the CanCham Export Group Leader and Ed Kalvins, CanCham Chairman. Twenty five people participated, including Irene Cirule, the Commercial Officer of the Canadian Embassy in Latvia, Andzejs Kasevskis from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Latvia and Ambassador Andy Chin, head of the Taipei Mission in the Republic of Latvia and Deputy Director Herbert Hsu, also of the Taipei Mission.

The status of Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) - see, was reviewed. CETA allows EU companies tariff-free trade with Canada and visa-versa, and is now in the implementation stage. Cases have been reported where confusion has arisen because of the lack of familiarity with the documentation requirements both in exporting to and from Canada which resulted in not being able to avoid applicable tariffs. The Latvian Embassy in Canada has provided the CanCham with information, and we are in the process of formatting this information in a useable format for our members.

The CanCham presented its strategy of developing strategic partnerships between our members, and individuals and/or companies abroad. The CanCham’s role would be to seek out foreign partners and connect then to our members, but leave it to the professionals in our organization to set up the commercial relationships. At the start, the CanCham would organize “virtual networking” (ie. using SKYPE, social media, etc.) in order to establish basic interest, but it was felt that person to person contact should eventually be encouraged. The CanCham web site is currently acting as a data base of members who want to reach out for new opportunities in both the “Groups” section ( which provides a listing of members by industry and the “Services” section ( which contains member “Sell Sheets”. Links to sell sheets are sent to those potentially interested in particular services.

All participants introduced themselves, and there was a consensus that there was a need to work together in smaller groups so as to pool resources and benefit from each other’s experiences. Branding was also considered a major issue. Companies that enter new markets must be aware of traditions, practices and language used in the local markets to present and market their good and services. Using local expertise in a new market is very important. The CanCham recognizes this and can help members connect to the right people. 

The main industries represented at the meeting included food and pharmaceutical, engineering, IT and  medical tourism. The following group leaders who support the export and strategic partner initiative included Oskars Dombrava (Business Promotion),  Ilze Eisaka (Conferences, Business Travel, Tourism and Recreation), Una Brûna (Healthcare) – see We discussed how these groups can help the export and strategic partnership development process. CanCham members involved in the export group are listed in

Irene Cirule stressed that the role of the Canadian Embassy was to sell Canadian products and services in Latvia, and that information about tariffs is readily available on the internet, while Andy Chin stated that the Taipei Mission would be prepared to take an active role in working together with CanCham members in developing business ties with Taiwan, and Andzejs Kasevskis of the Latvian Foreign Ministry voiced support for our initiatives.

The CanCham will continue to develop the export and strategic partner initiative, with the next similar meeting to be organized in February, 2019.

For pictures, see

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