Minister of Agriculture Martins Roze said earlier this week at an official press conference in the Baltic State's capital, Riga, that he intended to promote talks through the Irish authorities. Ireland is currently the holder of the rotating EU presidency, for which reason the Roze said that it would be the most appropriate authority to mediate with.
Roze told the Latvian Business News that Latvia could act as a mediator with regards trade in food products as well as promoting greater understanding of food safety issues, border controls, veterinary certificates and other administrative issues which have historically caused much misunderstanding between the two.
Before Latvian gained its independence from Russia in the early 90s, it had established itself as a major producer of foodstuffs for Russia. Although the significance of this trade has dropped off subsequent to independence, the Baltic state still has a high volume of trade with Russia.
Bridging this gap has been the increase in trade with EU countries, especially in the last couple of years. Now, with the imminent accession into the European Union on 1 May, many of Latvia's leading food and beverage companies are readying to increase their trade with the EU.
Roze added that one of the primary areas the Latvian government would like to focus on would be food safety, which is also one of Ireland's priorities during the country's presidency of the EU. "We know the situation perfectly well," said Roze speaking of Latvia's experience of trading in foodstuffs within both the EU and Russia.
Although no concrete replies have been received from either Russian or Irish authorities, Roze said that both sides were receptive to the idea and that serious consideration would be given to the proposal.