Latvian export potential has significantly changed during the last year, largely influenced by the political events, including sanctions on the Russian market. Many businesses are forced to switch and search for solutions to acquire other markets. One of less explored regions for Latvian entrepreneurs are the CIS countries, especially Uzbekistan, where Latvia has very good conditions for transnational cooperation and great potential. Unfortunately, our entrepreneurs have not yet sufficiently explored these opportunities.

Last week the logistics company SONORA organized the event “Morning coffee together with SONORA”, where the business development and logistics opportunities in Uzbekistan were discussed. During the event experts talked about the political and economic situation in Uzbekistan, about logistics capabilities, shared their experiences and listed the main benefits and opportunities in the country. It must be recognized that Uzbekistan has a special charm and some interesting characteristics. For example, cultural differences that dominate also in business. There are some “unwritten” rules that one must know when exploring this market, while everything is based on trust.

SONORA is working in the Uzbekistan for more than 15 years and has accumulated a wealth of experience and contacts. The company has the office in the capital of Uzbekistan – Tashkent. SONORA also actively collaborates with the Employers’ Confederation of Latvia (LDDK) and has formed the Business cooperation council in Uzbekistan (LSP) which is a great support for businesses wanting to enter this market. Last year, at the end of 2015, a transnational cooperation agreement was concluded between the LDDK and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Uzbekistan (CCI). Also the Head of the SONORA Uzbekistan office Nauris Jonass participated in the “Morning coffee with SONORA”: “When planning your operations in Uzbekistan, there are two important things you need to remember: the Uzbeks have positive opinion about the cooperation with Latvian companies, but earning their trust takes some time and support from the local market. Sonora’s 15 years of experience in the Uzbekistan’s market, as well as transnational cooperation agreement, can be useful and serve as the basis of developing various businesses in Uzbekistan. One of our missions is to gather success stories from Latvian companies who have found opportunities for success and growth in this country. Each success story, told with our participation, provides added value to the Latvian state and us as a company.”

Years of experience have helped to gained nuanced understanding of this market, as well as gain trust of clients, partners and state authorities. This has led to helping Latvian entrepreneurs not only in terms of logistics in Uzbekistan, but also help to enter this market, understand its nature and bring together potential clients and partners. The Head of SONORA Development Andris Kulbergs is highly familiar with this market and its nuances to provide support to our entrepreneurs: “Uzbekistan has a very attractive market for export and import companies in Latvia, especially the importers of raw materials. Both countries have a strategic political level transnational cooperation agreement. It is essential that Uzbekistan sees Latvia as its main partner in cooperation with the European Union.” Overall, the market is rapidly growing with the population of 32 million and the growing consumption and demand for quality European products and services. A. Kulbergs continues: “Of course, next to the big potential and opportunities there are also various business challenges one has to deal with. We are ready to help entrepreneurs to overcome these with our long-standing experience and knowledge – whether these are matters of currency conversion or obtaining the real contacts, up to specific legal matters of taxation and customs. We are ready to significantly reduce the used time and costs of the client, as well as to minimize unnecessary risks. Uzbekistan opens up new, unexploited export opportunities for the manufacturers and trade companies of Latvia who are eager to expand their business.”

As usual, the “Morning coffee together with SONORA” ended with discussing the business and cooperation opportunities in Uzbekistan. SONORA Business Development Director Normunds Volbets said: “During the event, many were surprised by the rapid growth of Uzbekistan after its declaration of independence – many still believe that there is stagnation, but it is not so. Uzbekistan is open to cooperation with Latvia, which is positive for exporting companies. We are happy that the guests welcomed our experience not only in the area of logistics, but also our investment in the exploration of a new and perspective market for Latvia. We will definitely continue to organize similar meetings with the clients.”

The next “Morning coffee with SONORA” will take place already on the 6th of September. The theme of the event: “SONORA support for the export of Latvian goods” Further information on the event will follow on the website or on Facebook.