In 2016, Latvia has been entrusted with the organisation of key events in cooperation between Central and Eastern European countries and China ("16+1") – the Meeting of Heads of Government (“Summit”) and related side events – a business forum, a national coordinators’ meeting, a seminar of think tanks – as well as the first 16+1 Transport Ministers' meeting.
At the Summit held in Suzhou, China, in November 2015, Latvia was assigned the task of establishing and hosting a Secretariat on logistics cooperation. The Secretariat was inaugurated the first 16+1 Transport Ministers’ meeting on 16 May in Riga.
Latvia’s responsibility of organizing these events has been outlined in The Suzhou Guidelines, the final document of the Suzhou Summit.
What is 16+1?
The 16+1 format is an initiative by the People’s Republic of China aimed at intensifying and expanding cooperation with 11 EU Member States and 5 Balkan countries (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Montenegro, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Macedonia) in the fields of investments, transport, finance, science, education, and culture. In the framework of the initiative, China has defined three potential priority areas for economic cooperation: infrastructure, high technologies, and green technologies.
The first 16+1 Summit was held in Warsaw, Poland, in 2012. At the event, the Prime Minister of China announced a comprehensive initiative on cooperation with 16 Central and Eastern European countries, entitled China’s Twelve Measures for Promoting Friendly Cooperation with Central and Eastern European Countries, which is the framework document for the 16+1 format.
The earlier Summits have taken place in Warsaw, Poland (2012); Bucharest, Romania (2013); Belgrade, Serbia (2014); and Suzhou, China (2015).
The 16+1 format is an effective instrument for cooperation with China, complementing both Latvia’s bilateral dialogue with China and the joint EU-China dialogue within the Strategic Partnership; therefore, Latvia is actively engaged in the work of the format.
Latvia has been entrusted with the responsibility to organise the 16+1 events in 2016 and coordinate cooperation in logistics having established the Secretariat on Logistics Cooperation. This opens up excellent opportunities for Latvia to increase its role in the 16+1 format, to raise the country’s visibility internationally, to promote economic contacts and expand cooperation with China in transport and logistics, tourism, culture, education and science, as well as enhancing the transnational legal framework.
Being well aware of the considerable potential for cooperation, Latvia actively facilitated broadening of the scope of areas for joint activities between our regions already before the first 16+1 Summit in 2012. The organisation of the Summit with the related side events is an important tool for the promotion of economic interests of our country in the priority areas of transport and logistics.
Events planned in Riga in 2016:
- Meeting of Heads of Government (November 2016)
- Business Forum (a side event of the Summit)
- Seminar of Think Tanks (a side event of the Summit)
- National Coordinators’ Meeting (October)
- Transport Ministers’ Meeting (16-17 May 2016)
- The Suzhou Guidelines for Cooperation between China and Central and Eastern European Countries
- The Medium-Term Agenda for Cooperation between China and Central and Eastern European Countries
- Website of the CEEC-China Secretariat on Logistic Cooperation established under the Ministry of Transport of the Republic of Latvia: http://www.ceec-china-logistics.org
- Website of the Secretariat for Cooperation between China and CEEC established under the Foreign Ministry of the People’s Republic of China: http://www.china-ceec.org/eng/index.htm
- Business Forum of the 16+1 Meeting of Heads of Government: http://ceec-china-latvia.org/
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