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Today in Hamburg, during the Latvia Days event, a German-Latvian Business Forum took place, with a focus on the development of digital innovations and the logistics sector. Latvia Days in Germany, held from May 7 to May 12, is a part of the Hamburg Port Anniversary programme, featuring an extensive business and cultural programme. The Hamburg Port Anniversary is the largest festival of its kind in the world and attracts more than 1.5 million visitors every year.

Opening the Business Forum, the Minister of Transport of the Republic of Latvia, Kaspars Briskens, accompanied by a delegation of 30 Latvian entrepreneurs, emphasized that several German companies are already working in Latvian ports, and close cooperation is also taking place in the field of digitization. Initiatives like Rail Baltica and ELWIND are set to create new prospects for development, enhancing connectivity significantly.

The Business Forum addressed potential business growth prospects in Hamburg and Latvia. Particular focuses were on areas like digital advancements in port infrastructure and solutions involving artificial intelligence.

"Latvia Days in Germany is an important step towards strengthening economic relations. Northern Germany is one of priority areas for our operations, and it has a high potential for collaboration in digital innovation and logistics. Our German partners underlined their interest in closer cooperation in the fields of digitalization and energy. Germany is expected to become one of the key buyers of green energy in our region. The availability and price of energy will significantly influence our appeal in attracting investments to the manufacturing sector and other energy-intensive industries," said Iveta Strupkaja, Acting Director General at the Investment and Development Agency of Latvia (LIAA).

To strengthen collaboration, a Memorandum of Understanding between Riga Technical University, Riga Business School, the Latvian IT Cluster, and the Artificial Intelligence Center Hamburg (ARIC) was signed at the Business Forum. German partners are already working closely with scientific institutions and the start-up ecosystem on port development. This is an opportunity to innovate faster by testing solutions that work the best. Latvia, on the other hand, can offer its experience in developing major IT and AI projects that serve the public and private sectors. Liene Briede, RTU Vice-Rector for Innovation, emphasized that one of the directions of cooperation in artificial intelligence will be the defence industry. "Defence is currently focused both in Latvia, where this initiative is being promoted by President of Latvia Edgars Rinkevics, and in Germany, so we see the prospect of cooperation in this area, working on research issues."

The Business Forum was attended by a Latvian business delegation of 30 people, as well as German entrepreneurs looking for new partners in the Northern Corridor, which spans the Baltic and Nordic Seas. Germany was represented at the Business Forum by companies and organizations such as Lufthansa, the Hamburg Chamber of Commerce, the Port of Hamburg, and others. The Latvian business delegation included LMT, Air Baltic, Riga Technical University, the Latvian IT Cluster, Adventum Tech, the Free Ports of Riga, Liepaja, Ventspils, and more.

Kaspars Ozolins, a Member of the Board of LVR Flote, highlighted Latvia's advantages in the field of digital innovation in port infrastructure development. "Compared to many of Europe's leading ports, we look very good regarding innovations. We also see great opportunities for cooperation with the Port of Hamburg. We are already providing 5G coverage in the water area of the Port of Riga in cooperation with LMT, which allows us to model twin ships, take precise measurements online, and use underwater drones," says K. Ozolins.

The business programme will continue until 10 May, while Latvia will participate in the Hamburg Port Anniversary as a partner country from 9 to 12 May. An extensive cultural programme and other activities are planned. The Latvia Days will feature performances by the honorary organist Iveta Apkalna, Carnival Youth, and Dagamba. Violinist Baiba Skride will also perform at the Elbphilharmonie Concert Hall. The event agenda features various activities designed to accommodate participants of all ages. A special event for the youngest guests will be a meeting with beloved Latvian characters Tuta, Fox, and Fenek.

Attendees will also have the chance to draw inspiration from the 6 Guinness World Records holder and adventurer Karlis Bardelis, the first person in the world to cross the Pacific Ocean from South America to Asia in 715 days by rowing boat. 

The festival provides an opportunity to explore Latvian folk music and dance traditions, the nearly forgotten art of basket weaving, and enticing culinary delights like traditional Latvian dishes presented in a modern street food manner. Latvian companies will offer a range of products for sale, encompassing jewellery, ceramics, and eco-friendly toys.

One of the highlight attractions is also the full-size rooster, a symbol of Riga, which welcomes visitors and offers a unique photo opportunity.

To strengthen collaboration with Germany, LIAA has expanded its representation in Germany to two personnel as of May.

Latvia Days in Germany are organized by LIAA in cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Transport. The event will be part of Latvia's external marketing strategy #MissionLatvia.

Vācijas–Latvijas biznesa forums Hamburgā | 08.05.2024.