Foreign Minister of Latvia, Edgars Rinkēvičs: It is essential for the EU to retain unity in further talks with the UK


The Foreign Minister of Latvia, Edgars Rinkēvičs at his working visit to Ireland met with the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade of Ireland, Simon Coveney. The focus of their discussions was placed on bilateral cooperation between Latvia and Ireland, the issues of the United Kingdom’s (UK) withdrawal from the European Union (EU) and Europe’s future.

In an exchange of views on bilateral relations between both countries, the ministers welcomed the active and regular political dialogue between Latvia and Ireland. Edgars Rinkēvičs made a commitment to sustain an intensive dialogue at all levels to promote practical cooperation, especially on issues relevant for the Latvian diaspora in Ireland. At the same time, the Minister Rinkēvičs called on Ireland to take the opportunity and also meet with Latvia in the Baltic and Nordic format for consultations on various EU-related topics.

The Ministers had a broad-ranging discussion on EU issues, including the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. Edgars Rinkēvičs emphasised that it is of key importance for the EU to maintain unity in further negotiations with the UK. It is in Latvia’s interests that, also after Brexit, as close as possible cooperation is ensured with the UK in economy, trade, security and defence. It is clear, however, that the negotiations on the UK leaving the EU should be concluded before the talks can begin on future relationship between the EU and the UK. Edgars Rinkēvičs noted with regret that the needed breakthrough has not yet been achieved on the priority issues of the UK’s withdrawal.

The Minister stressed that it is essential for Latvia to be part of the core EU in talks on Europe’s future and contribute to a discussion on various future initiatives. Edgars Rinkēvičs said he welcomed the drive to make Europe more united and capable in security matters and defence. It is vital to continue efforts of ensuring the EU’s capabilities and working at the EU level so as to complement NATO, and Latvia has just demonstrated that commitment by joining PESCO.

The Minister emphasised the importance of focusing on the convergence and cohesion in the Union not only in the context of the Cohesion Policy and the Common Agricultural Policy, but also working on key issues such as the EU’s Single Market, energy, transport and Europe’s social dimension.

Referring to the EU Multiannual Financial Framework, Edgars Rinkēvičs called for the right balance to be found between traditional priorities enshrined in the treaties – the Cohesion Policy and the Common Agricultural Policy – and the emerging challenges in migration, defence and other fields.

Both Ministers also discussed preparations for the EU Eastern Partnership Summit and were unanimous that, at this event, it is vital to maintain the level of ambition declared earlier in the EU’s cooperation with the Eastern Partnership countries; however, the partners should be supported as they pursue their individual aspirations in building relationship with the EU.

During his visit, the Minister also met with members of the Latvian diaspora organisations and discussed opportunities for future cooperation.


Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Latvia offers condolences to Greece over the diastrous flooding

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Latvia conveys its most profound sympathy to the people of the Hellenic Republic in connection with the deadly floods near Athens on November 15 that took away the lives of so many people.

In this moment of painful loss, our thoughts are with the victims’ families and friends, and we wish strength and a rapid recovery to all those who have suffered in this disaster.

At least 15 people have died and more than 20 others have been injured in Greece after heavy flooding and violent storms.

Parliamentary Secretary: Economic cooperation between Latvia and South Korea has great potential


Foreign Ministry’s Parliamentary Secretary, Zanda Kalniņa-Lukaševica, met with the Chairman of the Foreign Affairs and Unification Committee of the National Assembly of the Republic of Korea, Shim Jae-kwon, to discuss bilateral relations and cooperation in various international formats. The meeting focused on economic cooperation between the countries.

Zanda Kalniņa-Lukaševica noted that bilateral cooperation in politics, business, culture and education should be rated as dynamic and constructive. The officials confirmed their wish to continue the active political dialogue and expand the legal framework.

Although South Korea is one of the most important trade partners to Latvia in the Far East, it is possible to develop cooperation in transport, pharmaceuticals, timber industry, food processing and other sectors. The Parliamentary Secretary suggested that South Korean business missions should be organised to Latvia to explore opportunities for economic contacts and investments.

Zanda Kalniņa-Lukaševica said: “After signing of the Free Trade Agreement between the EU and the Republic of Korea in 2011, trade between Latvia and South Korea has increased four-fold. South Korea is currently one of Latvia’s main trade partners in the Far East.”

Both officials highlighted the significance of the upcoming visit by the President of Latvia, Raimonds Vējonis, to South Korea in February 2018. It is planned that the President will be accompanied by a delegation of Latvian entrepreneurs, who will take part in a business forum.

The parties shared views on developments in North Korea and expressed satisfaction at the convergence of opinions on the preferable course of action to resolve the situation on the peninsula.

The Parliamentary Secretary also pointed to the high potential for cooperation in education and science, and for student exchange in particular. The number of South Korean students at the Latvian higher education institutions is comparatively low at present; nevertheless, with education export being one of its priorities, Latvia is interested in attracting Korean students.

Abu Dhabi Hosts Reach Roundtable

Abu Dhabi co-organised a roundtable discussion as part of an important global initiative spearheaded by the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, in partnership with the Peri Charitable Foundation. In line with the Department’s ongoing mission to promote and protect cultural heritage both at home and overseas, the international series of ReACH (Reproduction of Art and Cultural Heritage) roundtables aims to address the challenges and opportunities in the field of storage, dissemination and reproduction of works of art and cultural heritage.

The roundtable was one in a series of five ReACH events planned for 2017, in the United States, Russia, Abu Dhabi, China and the United Kingdom. Bringing together thought leaders in the field of cultural heritage, ReACH has two main objectives: the first goal is to share and bring to light best practices from around the world concerning the production, storage and dissemination of digital and physical reproductions. This is achieved by inviting key speakers to the roundtables to share their professional experiences and to flag some of the broader challenges and opportunities concerning reproductions.

Abu Dhabi Chamber discusses with Philippine trade delegation cooperation Development


A delegation of Philippine trade delegation headed by His Excellency Constanço Gar Venego, Ambassador of the Republic of the Philippines to the UAE, met today at the Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Abdullah Ghareer Al Qubaisi, Deputy Director General of the Chamber, who chaired the meeting, said: “This visit helps introduce the companies, institutions, businessmen and investors in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi to the investment climate and opportunities offered by the Philippine government to attract UAE investments to their markets.

He stressed that this visit reflects the spirit of friendship between the two countries and shows the importance of your interest and your keenness to develop and strengthen that relationship and strengthen the bonds of economic and investment cooperation and open new horizons for constructive joint action.

Al Qubaisi pointed out that the Emirate of Abu Dhabi is witnessing development and development within the framework of its economic vision and plan. The Emirate is witnessing tremendous quantitative and qualitative developments in various economic and social fields. This is due to the balanced economic development policy adopted by the Government of Abu Dhabi, which has resulted in many achievements that enrich and enhance the development process. Economic and social development in the Emirate.

The meeting was attended by a large number of heads and directors of companies from both Countries

Seminar for Albany exporters targeting North Asian markets

Local businesses can hear how to access the benefits of Australia’s Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) with North Asia during a free seminar in Albany on November 6, Assistant Minister for Trade and Investment Keith Pitt.

Federal Member for O’Connor Rick Wilson will host the event, beginning at 8.30am at the Albany Entertainment Centre.

Greg Cross, Western Australia General Manager for Fletcher International Exports, will also attend, discussing the positive impact of lower tariff barriers on the company’s lamb and sheep meat exports.

Since the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA), the Japan-Australia Economic Partnership Agreement and the Korea-Australia Free Trade Agreement entered into force, significant and ongoing tariff reductions have provided advantages for many Australian products and services exported to these markets.

Mr Pitt said a whole range of industries in the region could benefit.

“Australian products now receive preferential access to more than a billion potential customers in China, Japan and Korea thanks to provisions negotiated by the Australian Government,” Mr Pitt said.

“I encourage anyone in business locally to attend.”

As well as hearing from Mr Wilson and Mr Cross, attendees will receive practical exporting advice from representatives of Austrade, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and AusIndustry.

Mr Wilson said the region’s economy was well positioned to supply to the markets of North Asia.

“As each Free Trade Agreement sees tariffs and barriers to those markets reduced over time, they become more accessible for local companies that might not have previously looked at exporting as a viable option,” Mr Wilson said.

“Some of the tariff reductions for industries like agriculture are highly significant, so there’s plenty of potential to expand exports from this region.

“I’d like to make sure those businesses in the Great Southern have access to all the resources they need to explore those options.”

Austrade and DFAT are running a series of North Asia FTA seminars across all Australian states and territories. Since March 2015, 84 seminars have been delivered around Australia.

Manulife announces global partnership with World Heart Federation

HONG KONG, CHINA- Today, Manulife has announced the commencement of a new global partnership with the World Heart Federation (WHF) to bolster awareness of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and to increase CVD prevention efforts.

CVD is the leading cause of death around the world, with 17.5 million people dying from CVD, such as heart attack and stroke, in 2015 alone. Many premature deaths from CVD are preventable through lifestyle changes — like diet, exercise and nicotine use — and this new partnership will seek to raise awareness of these avenues to better heart health.

“Manulife sets out to help people achieve their dreams and aspirations. A healthy life is crucial in being able to reach those goals — which is why we believe Manulife has a substantial part to play in promoting good health and active living around the world,” said Roy Gori, President and CEO of Manulife Asia.

Through the course of the partnership, WHF and Manulife will work closely to make a meaningful impact on the health of both customers and communities.

Roy Gori said that the partnership had particular significance to Manulife staff and agents in Asia, with more than three quarters of CVD deaths occurring in low or middle-income nations.

“A lot of communities in Asia are struggling to combat heart attack and stroke within their health systems. More than almost anywhere else, it is vital that we communicate the importance of prevention and lifestyle change here in Asia,” Roy said.

“Like the WHF, Manulife has a vast and vibrant footprint in the region, and we believe we can leverage the good work of the WHF to drive up healthy heart awareness.”

“Our partnership with Manulife will help us continue to build the World Heart Day campaign and generate new awareness of cardiovascular disease,” said Vash Mungal-Singh, Interim CEO, World Heart Federation.

“Most of all, the partnership will aid in giving individuals the information and motivation they need to live longer, healthier lives.”

Manulife will be undertaking a range of activities throughout 2017 to promote a heart-healthy lifestyle throughout its markets, with a goal of tangibly improving the health of its customers, employees and communities.

This partnership is the latest outcome in Manulife’s ongoing commitment to promoting happy, healthy living. It follows the launch of Vitality in North America, ManulifeMOVE in parts of Asia and a series of marathon sponsorships around the world.