A new year has begun and it is time to look back at what has been done in the Rezekne Special Economic Zone during 2020.
Amendments to the law to expand the support
On 14 May 2020, the Saeima of the Republic of Latvia adopted amendments to the Law “On Taxation in Freeports and Special Economic Zones”, which provides for the right of Rezekne Special Economic Zone companies to receive support not only for initial long-term investments, but also for expected salary costs.
Mitigation of COVID-19 consequences
In 2020, the whole world was taken over by the Covid-19 virus pandemic, which has also affected the work of Rēzekne SEZ Authority and Rēzekne SEZ commercial companies. Rezekne SEZ Authority has organized two project competitions for commercial companies to provide co-financing for mitigating the consequences of Covid-19 from the Rezekne Special Economic Zone Business Support Fund. Within the framework of the project competitions, support has been granted to 10 projects of Rezekne SEZ commercial companies for investments in current assets related to the implementation of safety measures to reduce and prevent the consequences of COVID-19, including purchase of thermal cameras, non-contact disinfection devices, face masks, and other protective equipment.
In addition, the Rezekne SEZ Authority has granted support to commercial companies by reducing the rental fee for real estate, in accordance with the percentage reduction of the commercial company's operating income in the respective month, but not exceeding 90% of the lease fee.
About the Rezekne Special Economic Zone Entrepreneurship Support Fund: its purpose is to promote and support the business of Rezekne Special Economic Zone merchants, as well as to finance the development of the infrastructure of the Rezekne Special Economic Zone.
Due to the rapid changes of digitization, which was facilitated by the restrictions introduced by the pandemic COVID 19 in many countries of the world, Rezekne SEZ Authority had the opportunity to participate in many international events, thus promoting its international recognition.
One of the most important events was the Barcelona New Economy Week, where Sandra Ežmale, the CEO of Rezekne SEZ, was invited to speak in two panel discussions - "Women Leadership and the Role of Economic Zones" and "The Role of European Economic Zones in Industrial Recovery". The event brought together more than 8,000 professionals from around the world.
Representatives of the Rezekne SEZ Authority also participated in the Annual Investment Meeting 2020 with an intensive three-day program on an interactive platform organized by the Ministry of Economics of the United Arab Emirates. The event takes place every year in Dubai and brings together more than 15,000 participants from around the world.
In addition, representatives of Rezekne SEZ Authority have also participated in such events as the Kazakhstan Global Investment Forum, the Belt and Road Summit 2020, the Annual Conference and Exhibition of the World Free Zone Organization, etc.
Strengthening international cooperation with the World Free Zone Organization
Rezekne SEZ Authority has officially become one of the representatives of the 40 national contact points (NCPs) of the World Organization for Free Zones in 2020. NCPs are designed to facilitate the exchange of information between the World Free Zone Organization and the country's free zone ecosystem. The World Organization for Free Zones is currently the largest organization of its kind, bringing together and representing free zones from around the world. Currently, the World Free Zone has more than 700 members from 135 countries.
Arrangement of industrial territories in Rezekne SEZ
Several municipal infrastructure improvement projects in the territory of Rezekne SEZ continued in 2020. It should be mentioned that in the last three years, more than 5 km of streets have been renovated and works on several sections of the streets are still ongoing. In general, the arranged infrastructure will provide access to more than 50 ha of industrial territories in the Rezekne Special Economic Zone.
Rezekne SEZ Authority has completed the implementation of the project at Komunālā Street 13 and 11C, Rezekne. Within the framework of the project landscaping and levelling works, dismantling of existing buildings and felling of trees have been carried out so that potential investors can use the 6.9 ha plot for the construction of new production facilities. The mentioned project has been implemented with the support of Rezekne Special Economic Zone Entrepreneurship Support Fund. In addition, Rēzekne City Council has implemented a project with European Union co-financing, within which road Komunāla Street has been reconstructed, thus providing water supply, gas pipeline, etc. Currently, potential investors have several arranged plots of land in the territory of Rezekne SEZ available for long-term lease. Information about them is available on the website of Rēzekne SEZ: http://rsez.lv/index.php/atrasanas-vieta?region=rezekne#regionAnchor
In 2020, the status of Rēzekne SEZ commercial company was granted to the information technology company SIA “MIDIS” RSEZ and “OptoelektronikaLV” SIA RSEZ, which manufactures electronic and electrical wires and cables in the territory of Rezekne SEZ.
2 new investment contracts were signed in previous year, with an investment of EUR 1,591,000 and the creation of 395 new work places. The implementation of 5 investment projects continues, within the framework of which it is planned to make long-term investments in the amount of 52,113,000 euros and to provide 513 work places by 2024.
In 2020, 80 investor requests were received, on which information on tax discounts, the procedure for granting RSEZ status, as well as real estate offers were prepared.