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Cablegate: Riga's Fy2010 Bfif Proposals

VZCZCXYZ0012
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHRA #0040/01 0221556
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 221556Z JAN 10
FM AMEMBASSY RIGA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6251
INFO RUEHSM/AMEMBASSY STOCKHOLM 1173
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC

UNCLAS RIGA 000040

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR EEB/CBA (DENNIS WINSTEAD) AND EUR/NB
STOCKHOLM FOR SCO CARRICO

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ECON ETRD BEXP EINV LG
SUBJECT: RIGA'S FY2010 BFIF PROPOSALS

1. Summary: Embassy Riga welcomes EEB's effort to support non-FCS
post business promotion and commercial training activities through
the Business Facilitation Incentive Fund (BFIF) and proposes three
FY2010 projects: travel and registration for the Commercial
Specialist to attend the Electric Power 2010 trade show in Baltimore
MD, May 18-20, which is included in the International Buyers
Program; purchase of display materials and fees to establish U.S.
presence at trade shows taking place in Latvia; and participation of
Commercial Specialist in the FSI training course "Coal and Power" in
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, July 19-23. End Summary.

2. Embassy Riga has already been contacted by the BFIF coordinator
regarding regional training on CS activities. As this training is
already being planned, it is not included in the following
proposals. As a non-CS posts that has not received payments for
commercial activities already undertaken under the State-Commerce
MOU, Embassy Riga has not had funding to cover basic commercial
activities such as attending trade shows. The current commercial
specialist has never participated in a trade show and we hope to use
BFIF funds to introduce him to this vital element of commercial
activity.

-------------------------
IBP TRADE SHOW ATTENDANCE
-------------------------

3. Proposed Project 1: The ELECTRIC POWER 2010 trade show is a
major energy event which in 2010 will be co-locating with
FuturePOWER, an industry-wide event on innovative power solutions.
The show has been included in the International Buyers Program and
post is already beginning recruiting potential delegates in the
local energy community. This show is part of the International
Buyer Program. Sweden and Latvia have chosen this show for regional
promotion and both will feature the show on their websites,
coordinate promotional efforts, but do their promotions separately.
Commercial specialist from Riga will assist both Swedish and Latvian
delegates during the show and will be prepared to brief interested
parties on both markets.

A) Justification: Travel to the trade show by the Commercial
Specialist would allow him to learn about U.S. power product
producers, brief them about business and investment opportunities in
Latvia's energy sector, and develop a better understanding of major
IBP trade show operations. Opportunities in this sector should
expand dramatically in coming years as Latvia is aspiring to attain
greater independence from foreign energy resources and expand its
energy portfolio. Projects on the horizon include construction of a
solid fuel (coal plus biomass) power plant,improvement of current
electricity grid, upgrading of existing power generating units among
other renewable energy related projects. Promoting energy security
is also part of the Mission Strategic Plan.

B) Impact: The Government of Latvia is planning to announce a tender
for the Coal fired power plant in the middle of 2010. The timing of
the show would offer a good opportunity to connect U.S. firms to
this process. In addition, increasing commercial specialists
understanding of trade show operations will improve post capacity to
maximize impact of future IBP shows, whether simply recruiting or
attending himself.

C) Planning Milestones:

January 2010: Post begins recruiting delegates from local energy
industry.

March 2010: BFIF money is awarded. Potential attendees sign up for
the show.

May 2010: Travel to Baltimore, MD to attend the Show.

D) Estimated Costs: Transportation: USD 3000, Hotel, Meals and
Incidental Expenses: USD 1400, Ground Transportation USD 100. Total
Requested: USD 4500.

E) Point of Contact: Political/Economic Officer Matthew
Stokes,phone: 371-6703-6287, fax: 371-6782-0047, email:
stokesmr@state.gov, Commercial Specialist Guntars Vicmanis, phone:
371-6703-6291, fax: 371-6782-0047, email: vicmanisg@state.gov


--------------------
Trade Show Materials
--------------------

4. Project Proposal 2: Establish U.S. Presence at Latvian Trade
Shows. Embassy Riga has not participated in local trade shows in
recent years. BFIF funding could "seed" our local-trade show
program with costs of display materials and start-up costs to
recruit participants for first trade shows. The easiest point of
entry would be the Riga Food Expo, a regional trade show for food
and restaurant industries. Post anticipates expanding to other
trade shows in the future, but U.S. business presence in the region
makes the Food Expo an attractive initial target.

A) Justification: Attending trade shows is one of the fundamentals
of a successful export promotion strategy. While it is challenging
for the Embassy to increase awareness in the U.S. of the small
Latvian market, providing a push for companies already active or
interested in the market also holds potential to increase exports.


B) Impact: While this is unlikely to have rapid and immediate effect
on exports, we believe that it can give a modest boost to some
companies that are already distributing products in Latvia. More
importantly this will lay the groundwork for an expanding presence
at trade shows, working with a growing array of American companies
to increase exports and bring new products to Latvia.

C) Planning Milestones:

March 2010: BFIF money is awarded, recruitment of potential
participating companies begins;

May 2010: Design of display materials and brochures for trade show
booth.

June 2010: Printing of materials.

September 2010: Trade show.

D) Estimated Costs: Registration and space rental: USD 1000;
Materials USD 1000. Total requested: USD 2000.

E) Point of Contact: Political/Economic Officer Matthew
Stokes,phone: 371-6703-6287, fax: 371-6782-0047, email:
stokesmr@state.gov, Commercial Specialist Guntars Vicmanis, phone:
371-6703-6291, fax: 371-6782-0047, email: vicmanisg@state.gov


-------------------
Project 3: Training
-------------------

A) Justification: Post has identified the energy sector as one of
the industries with continued potential for investment despite the
economic difficulties facing Latvia. It is one of the industries for
which we receive the greatest number of inquiries from both Latvian
and American companies. Furthermore, increasing energy security is
a key policy goal in response to Latvia's current reliance on gas
imports from Russia.

B) Planning Milestones:

March 2010: BFIF money is awarded.

April 2010: FSI confirms participation of Commercial Specialist in
the training.

July 2009: Participation in the training.

C) Performance Metric: Improved Commercial Specialist's
understanding of emerging technologies in the U.S.coal and power
industry, and increased ability of Commercial Specialist to
represent a wide range of USG commercial, economic and environmental
issues related to energy sector and to respond to inquiries quickly
and helpfully.

D) Estimated Costs: Transportation: USD 2900, Hotel, Meals and
Incidental Expenses: USD 1200, Ground Transportation USD 100. Total
Requested: USD 4200.

E) Point of Contact: Political/Economic Officer Matthew
Stokes,phone: 371-6703-6287, fax: 371-6782-0047, email:
stokesmr@state.gov, Commercial Specialist Guntars Vicmanis, phone:
371-6703-6291, fax: 371-6782-0047, email: vicmanisg@state.gov

GARBER

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