Due to a cement deficit on the Latvian market, Prime Minister Aigars Kalvitis (People’s Party) has ordered Minister of Economy Krisjanis Karins (New Era) to consider inviting bids for building a new cement plant in Latvia, as Kalvitis’ advisor Arno Pjatkins told LETA. Karins will have to report on his findings at the government’s meeting on October 25, and also present a report on availability of limestone resources in Latvia. The Competition Council is to report by October 20 whether it suspects a cartel on the cement market.
Kalvitis has also ordered Karins to take immediate action and offer foreign businessmen who are not affiliated with the Baltic countries’ cement monopolies to launch terminals at Latvia’s ports. Kalvitis also urges Karins to, in conjunction with his Baltic colleagues, take necessary action to harmonize the countries’ policies on natural monopolies in the cement industry. Besides, Karins has been ordered to launch talks with the Broceni cement plant, a natural monopoly in Latvia, so the plant starts accepting imported clinker to meet the demand on the Latvian market.
Karins will also have to evaluate the feasibility of buying shares in the Lithuanian cement plant "Akmenes Cementas". Overall, Kalvitis has issued six decrees that deal with the present cement deficit, and all six decrees are for Karins.
"Cemex", the owner of the Broceni cement plant, believes that the cement deficit in Latvia is due to a fall in imported materials. This is because these materials now go to Russia, where prices are higher. "Cemex" denies that cement makers have agreed to supply less cement in order to raise prices.