Q: For those who do not know Valmiera, what makes it attractive?
A: Valmiera stands out with its greenery and proximity to nature. Fresh air, clear spring water and clean forests filled with rich forest bounty are wonderful treasures that provide unforgettable experiences for locals and guests on a daily basis.
As a regional centre we offer a superb quality of life. Valmiera is known for its excellent sports and cultural facilities and events, well-organised and well-equipped infrastructure and transport, accessible healthcare, opportunities to walk and cycle to places, low cost of living and doing business, its safety and strong and active community.
Compared with big cities, we as a micro-city are able to offer a very personal approach and dedicated attitude. All services and communication are provided quickly and professionally. There is a prompt solution to every issue. It helps to maintain a close relationship with local entrepreneurs and foreign investors that have chosen Valmiera as their investment destination.
The comprehensive educational system covers all levels, starting from kindergarten to strong vocational education, doctorate degrees, lifelong learning and an open university.
Q: What are the main FDI opportunities in Valmiera?
A: With confidence I can say that the main foreign investment opportunities include an excellent and dynamic business environment, networking, support programmes and activities, the availability of a highly qualified workforce and infrastructure of all types – roads, gas pipelines, access to 110 kilovolts and 330 kilovolts power transmission lines, railway and fibre-optic communication cables, water and sewage systems and lighting. Valmiera is currently working to provide entrepreneurs and investors with an industrial park, top-notch space of 600,000 square metres for industrial development. Additionally, investors and entrepreneurs may be eligible for real estate tax discounts of between 25% and 90%.
Valmiera is a proud home of 120 FDI companies, which collectively make up 11% of the city’s total workforce. Valmiera is a headquarters of Valmiera Glass, one of the leading manufacturers of glass fibre-based products in the world and so far the largest Latvian investor in the US . Valmiera is also a home for Valpro, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of metal fuel cans and accessories.
Q: What needs to be improved in Valmiera to make it more attractive to FDI?
A: Valmiera has always been the industry city and the national leader in output per person. We must be competitive and visible on the global map. It forces us to constantly develop and work on investment attraction strategies.
Although Valmiera is already a magnet city for the region and one-third of the workforce commutes to the city from surrounding municipalities on a daily basis, Valmiera’s development means attracting new talent and providing it with everything necessary for a high quality of life. Therefore, this year the city announced a major housing project.
Q: Some investors have criticised Latvia’s court system for being 'slow and inefficient'. Do you agree?
A: I agree that Latvia’s court system has not always been the fastest and most efficient in examining cases. However, much has already been accomplished and improved, so I would say that this critique is more about the past than today.