May 5, 2009 (10:15 a.m. EDT)
No. 121

Minister Day Signs Agreement to Help Canadian Businesses Take Advantage of Opportunities in Latvia

The Honourable Stockwell Day, Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway, today announced that Canada and Latvia have signed an updated foreign investment promotion and protection agreement (FIPA).

“Our government is opening doors for Canadian business. Latvia is a promising market for Canadian investment, especially in the energy, construction, transportation, and science and technology sectors. This agreement will help Canadian companies take advantage of new opportunities in Latvia,” said Minister Day.

FIPAs are agreements that clearly lay out rules for signatory countries to follow. They offer a level of protection and predictability that helps companies invest with confidence. The updated agreement will encourage two-way investment by providing the clarity and certainty needed by investors in foreign markets.

As part of its Global Commerce Strategy, the Government of Canada is promoting Canada as an investment destination, especially to its European Union partners.

“This agreement builds upon Canada’s commitment to strengthen ties with our European partners,” said Minister Day. “The updated Canada-Latvia investment agreement complements the action our government is taking to build a closer partnership with the EU.”

The Canada-Latvia FIPA, which entered into force in 1995, has now been updated to comply with EU law and to include a number of improvements requested by Canada. These include a new clause for environmental, health and other safety standards, and greater transparency during investor-state arbitration.

Canada currently has 23 FIPAs in force, of which six are with EU countries.

Two-way merchandise trade between Canada and Latvia totalled $81.4 million in 2008. Sectors identified for business development in Latvia include capital projects, agriculture and agri-food, and environmental industries.

For further information about Minister Day’s visit to Europe, consult the following website:International Trade: Minister Day opens doors for Canadian business in Europe.

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For further information, and high-resolution photos of Minister Day’s visit to Europe, media representatives may contact:

Mélisa Leclerc
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway
613-992-6186

Trade Media Relations Office
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada
613-996-2000