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Latvian parliament enables takeover of port hit by U.S. sanctions

Christian Fernsby ▼ | December 19, 2019
Latvian lawmakers at an extraordinary session passed legislative amendments allowing a newly created state-owned company, Ventas Osta, to take over the northwestern Latvian port of Ventspils after the port's previous administration was hit by U.S. sanctions, local media reported.
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The parliament adopted the draft amendments to the law on the Freeport of Ventspils and the law on ports in a shortened fast-track procedure in two readings in a bid to get the port removed from the U.S. sanctions list as soon as possible.

Topics: Latvia port U.S. sanctions

To make sure the sanctions regime does not affect the companies operating in the port's territory, the government chose to establish a new legal entity that would not have any links to the natural and legal persons included in the U.S. sanctions list, Latvian Transport Minister Talis Linkaits told lawmakers at the parliament meeting.

Ventas Osta will be the authority dealing with shipping agents, terminals and stevedores operating in the port, the minister explained.

He also reassured the parliament that the government is communicating with U.S. authorities to persuade them to remove the port of Ventspils from the list of sanctioned entities as it no longer has any ties with Ventspils mayor Aivars Lembergs, the intended target of the sanctions.

Four ministries the Environmental Protection and Regional Development Ministry, the Economics Ministry, the Finance Ministry and the Transport Ministry will delegate their representatives to the board of Ventas Osta. The board will appoint the port's CEO.

The Freeport of Ventspils Authority will continue to function for some time to turn the port's assets over to the new administration.