||WEEK 43rd 2003
Thursday, the 23th of October, 2003
Banks are ready to give money to state
On October 22, the Deputy Prime Minister, Ainars Slesers, met the representatives of Latvian commercial banks to discuss the economical strategy of Latvia after joining EU, and the role of the banks in developing it. The main issues of the meeting were acquisition of EU structural funds, and utilisation of the free capital of Latvian commercial banks. Mr. Slesers invited the banks to participate in development of a program of acquiring of EU structural funds. The President of Association of Latvian Commercial Banks, Teodors Tverijons, stated that banks have hundreds of million lats for investing in large projects, e.g., development of infrastructure, and building of houses.
Wednesday, the 22th of October, 2003
Piracy hinders development
International Information technology and telecommunications industry market research agency IDC conducted a research on the effect of the intellectual capital protection effectiveness on the economic development of countries. The results indicate, if Latvia decreased the level of computer piracy by 10 percentage points to 48%, the turnover of the IT industry would increase by more than USD 51 million. That would also add 600 new well paid jobs until the year 2006; currently the number of employed in the IT industry exceeds 6.7 thousand. The decrease of computer piracy in Latvia by 32 percentage points since 1996 has fostered the growth of program development industry by 86%, and increase in the total income of IT sector by USD 74 million. The total value of Latvian IT sector last year is estimated at USD 167 million. The CEO of Business Software Alliance Latvia committee Sandis Voldins declared that decrease of computer piracy by 10 percentage points is feasible, however, that would require greater government support.
Tuesday, the 21th of October, 2003
Czechs to be in Latvia
Between October 21 and October 23, Latvia will visit Czech entrepreneurs and representatives of Czech authorities to promote co-operation between Latvia and Czechia. The delegation will include representatives of engineering industry, chemical industry, textile industry, telecommunications, packaging technologies industry, and other industries. The Honorary Consul of Latvian Republic, Brno Petr Zeman, informs that the external trade between both countries is growing, however, the import of Czech goods to Latvia exceeds the export of Latvian goods to Czechia. In 2002, the direct investments of Czechia in Latvia amounted to USD 1.25 million. They were mostly invested in pharmacy, food industry, and trade. There are 38 companies of Czech capital with total of USD 1.1 million registered in Latvia.
Latvia joins WTO
On October 20, during the General Assembly Session in Peking, China, Latvia was admitted into the World Tourism Organization (WTO). According to the Minister of Economics, Juris Lujans, membership in the WTO provides Latvia with numerous opportunities, but it does not provide guarantees. Lujans admits that in order to make Latvia a destination attractive for business and recreation, marketing activities should be planned and realized. In accordance with the agreement, which was reached with the WTO's secretary general, Latvia will become a full member of WTO as of 2005. The biggest benefit from WTO membership is the opportunity to access sustainable development programs, which involve the UN Development Program and the World Bank.
Monday, the 20th of October, 2003
One of lowest inflations in Latvia
According to the data of Eurostat, in September of 2003, Latvia has had 3.2% inflation, which is one of the lowest indicator among the countries of EU. Only three countries of EU candidate states have had lower inflation than Latvia. The Director of Market and Industry Analysis Department of Latvijas Unibanka, Andris Vilks, points out that the high euro currency rate currently contributes to the increase of inflation in Latvia. Mr. Vilks believes that Latvia could have only short-term problems with following Mastricht criteria in respect to inflation.
Baltic Weekly MonitorA