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LIAA representatives start their duties in the Netherlands and Austria

On 1st of the June, the heads of Latvia's external economic missions in the Netherlands and Austria, which are representatives of the Investment and Development Agency  of Latvia (LIAA) abroad, have taken office. The role of representative of the LIAA in the Netherlands will be carried out by Jēkabs Groskaufmanis, while Laura Saliniece will be LIAA representative in Austria. Representatives of the LIAA will provide support to Latvian companies for export promotion and will work on investment attraction issues.

Jēkabs Groskaufmanis has so far gained nearly six years of experience in the communication sector, working in Latvia in the media agency “Inspired”, as well as in the international market research company “Nielsen” (“Pointlogic”, whose international awareness is most frequently integrated with owners “Nielsen”) in the Netherlands. At the public administration, Mr. Groskaufmanis worked for one year in the Ministry of Economics Republic of Latvia in the field of investment attractions and innovation promotion. In the telecommunications sector, Mr. Groskaufmanis has worked on business development issues for “LMT”, the introduction of innovation projects and the promotion of cooperation at different levels. Higher education has been acquired at the University of Latvia – a bachelor's degree in communication science (with orientation in advertising and marketing) and a master's degree in business management at Rotterdam Scool of Management. Gained additional experience in semester training at the Schulich School of Business in Canada.

“I once faced a dilemma whether to continue the growth path in the Netherlands or to return to value Latvia with new knowledge and experience, I appreciate that I will be able to combine both. I look forward to a truly responsible and full of opportunities to get to know the best in both countries and create new value by connecting it,” admits Groskaufmanis.

As one of the most important priorities in the context of cooperation between Latvia and the Netherlands, the representative puts forward support for Latvia's exporting companies to enter and expand into the Dutch market “with a focus on the smart specialisation areas of Latvia”. It also highlights “the deeper integration of Latvian companies into global value chains, where the Netherlands plays a major role; the focus on science-intensive companies and capital (including venture capital) and knowledge-raising – as well as through company entry and partnership establishment, through research and higher education”.

He also outlined his ideas and priorities to strengthen external trade: “For Dutch companies (particularly those affected by the pandemic), by reviewing the length of their partners, networks and supply chains, position Latvia as a capable and reliable partner (focus on narrower but potentially high value added product niches). A sustainable and circular economy-based takeover of business principles and knowledge, ensuring the competitiveness of Latvian companies in the markets of the Netherlands and similar developed countries."

On the basis of his experience, Groskaufmanis says that when he takes up his new position he can benefit from international business education and “experience in companies with a global view”, which “will help to better understand the needs of entrepreneurs on both sides and define Latvia's value in the context of the Netherlands. “The visual image of products and the promotion of awareness: “Marketing and product positioning – will help to address real decision makers in a focused and efficient manner by delivering exactly what is relevant to them,” admits the representative.

The representative of the LIAA in Austria will be Laura Saliniece, who has worked for the last five years at the international medical technology company Becton Dickinson in Austria, where she has managed innovation planning, development and commercialisation projects in the field of oncology ICT solutions.

Before joining Becton Dickinson, L.Saliniece has gained experience in the High School of Applied Sciences of Austria, as well as in the Innovation sphere of Ministry of Economics Republic of Latvia.

Laura Saliniece has obtained a Bachelor of Management Knowledge degree at Riga Technical University, as well as graduated from an exchange of studies at Otto von Guericke University, Germany, as part of his studies.

By outlining the vision for new job responsibilities, L. Saliniece defines Austria as an economically attractive country, with opportunities to promote cooperation between Latvia and Austria in different areas. "Cooperation with Austria has great potential because it is an open and economically high-developed country for international cooperation and Austria is in a strategically beneficial geographical location at the heart of Europe. Austria is open to cooperation in both traditional and high-tech sectors. Austria stands out with significant investments in R&D and places great emphasis on digital transformation and sustainable development in the national strategy of the coming years,” says the representative.

In 2020, Latvia's total trade turnover of goods and services with the Netherlands amounted to EUR 1.2 billion, ranking the Netherlands 8th among Latvia's foreign trading partners. Total exports of goods and services to the Netherlands were 528 million EUR, representing 3% of Latvia's total exports, while imports of goods and services – 717.8 million EUR, representing 4.1% of Latvia's imports. Compared to 2019, exports have increased by 6%, while imports have increased by 3%. In 2020, the Netherlands was Latvia's 9th major export and 7 th major import partner.

In 2020, Latvia's total trade turnover of goods and services with Austria was 292.7 million EUR, which ranked Austria 25th among Latvia's foreign trading partners. Total exports of goods and services to Austria amounted to 110,1 million EUR, representing 0,6% of Latvia's total exports, while imports of goods and services – 182,6 million EUR, representing 1% of Latvia's imports. Compared with 2019, exports have fallen 5%, while imports have fallen 2%. In 2020, Austria was Latvia's 26th major export and 24th major import partner.

Entrepreneurs on questions of interest to the Netherlands are invited to contact the representative Jēkabs Groskaufmanis writing to e-mail and for questions relating to Austria, contact representative Laura Saliniece by e-mail



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