Edition: English | 中文简体 | 中文繁体 Монгол
Homepage > China Video

Crossover: Li arrives in Riga for official visit, China-CEE summit


11-04-2016 17:41 BJT

Full coverage: Premier Li Visits Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Latvia and Russia

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang has arrived in the Latvian capital Riga for an official visit. Li is also scheduled to attend the Fifth Summit of China and Central and Eastern European Countries, at the invitation of Latvian Prime Minister Maris Kucinskis. For more, let's go live to our correspondent Guy Henderson in Riga.

Q1. Guy, this summit is part of the so-called 16+1 mechanism. Tell what that is, exactly.

These are sprats, traditionally an acquired taste for Baltic region consumers. Now - available in China. That's since this Latvian tinned fish manufacturer was forced to broaden its export horizons - after a turbulent few years.

"Yes - it's not the best times now. However, we can use the opportunities to revisit our internal kitchen - let's put it this way. And make it more friendly to other countries," said Edgar Ter-Avetisyan, Gamma-A, Latvian Tinned Fish Manufacturer.

Latvia was particularly badly hit by the global economic slowdown post 2008. And just as it was starting to recover, one of its biggest export partners, Russia moved to annex Crimea from Ukraine.

When the European Union slapped sanctions on Russia - Gamma A lost half of its business almost overnight. Since then, the company has been fishing for new customers - a deal with a Chinese supplier has been an important catch. But not enough to make up for the shortfall.

Indeed, more generally - Latvian companies have struggled to service such a huge Chinese market.

Exports to China were up less than 1% last year - while imports from there increased by more than 17%.

As leaders gather in the capital Riga for a regional summit with China - experts hope a number of big infrastructure deals could give companies here easier access to new markets.

"30% of all Chinese investment in Latvia is in real estate - which is a whole different sphere. With big Chinese companies like China Harbour Engineering Company coming to Latvia and negotiating Riga FreePort and Rail Baltica - R-Baltic - the situation can turn around easily. The main expectation is that those projects will take off with a contribution from China," said Austra Priede, China Expert from University of Riga.

That believes Gamma- A would help its business - and many others like it.

Q2. What can we expect from this meeting?

Follow us on

  • Please scan the QR Code to follow us on Instagram

  • Please scan the QR Code to follow us on Wechat