Switzerland’s Svizraa files protest against limiting its operations in Latvia


The Swiss chartering and transportation firm Svizraa S.A. has despatched a letter to Latvia’s overseas affairs, economics and justice ministries in protest over their de facto prohibition on the corporate to conduct enterprise in Latvia.

Svizraa – which works within the motion of fertilizers, grain, coal and metal, with a cargo turnover of greater than 10 million tons per yr – known as the authorities’ resolution to cease the operation of two of the corporate’s mineral fertilizers and ammonia trans-shipment terminals in Riga and Ventspils legally unfounded and demanded that their operations resume instantly. 

The corporate mentioned the choice by Latvia’s state authorities has induced “catastrophic damages” to Svizraa. 

Svizraa’s letter states that on March 1 it acquired the Cypriot firm Uralchem Freight Restricted (UFL), which owns shares in two Latvian port operator corporations in Riga and Ventspils – SIA Riga Fertilizer Terminal (RFT) and SIA Ventamonjaks (VA). In accordance with Svizraa, the 2 infrastructure objects are in vital situation, which has induced the corporate to undergo main losses.

Certainly one of Uralchem Freight’s former oblique shareholders is Russian businessman Dmitry Mazepin, who was included on the EU’s sanctions listing on March 9, following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

After Svizraa acquired UFL, VA and RFT, it utilized to Latvia’s nationwide registry to replace details about the businesses’ true beneficiaries. They requested that Mazepin, because the helpful proprietor, be eliminated because the beneficiary and changed with Aamer Atta Bhidwal as the brand new RFT and VA helpful proprietor. Latvia’s registry, nonetheless, refused resulting from Mazepin’s inclusion on Europe’s sanctions listing.

Svizraa has additionally drawn consideration to the truth that its acquisition of Uralchem Freight Restricted was concluded on March 1, a full eight days earlier than Mazepin was sanctioned on March 9. The corporate believes that the refusal to register a brand new beneficiary has no authorized foundation in line with Latvia’s laws, in addition to the EU’s. 

This was additional confirmed by the truth that the change of possession for Uralchem Freight Restricted was additionally duly registered within the public registers of Cyprus, after which, it was renamed Svizraa Administration Restricted.

RFT and VA appealed the Register’s refusals to replace data on the helpful proprietor, whereas the related administrative circumstances are at present into account within the courts of Riga and Liepaja, with Svizraa concerned within the proceedings as an third occasion.

In the meantime, in line with Svizraa’s enchantment, the inaccurate and outdated knowledge at present registered in Latvia’s Register of Enterprises proceed to trigger catastrophic losses to each SIA Riga Fertilizer Terminal and SIA Ventamonjaks

None of those corporations is included on any listing of sanctions, however, resulting from the truth that the Latvian authorities have set precise restrictions on the operation of terminals, the vast majority of banks, insurance coverage corporations, service suppliers, suppliers of apparatus and spare components have refused to cooperate with RFT and VA. As well as, on the finish of Could, the Latvian State Environmental Service determined to droop the operations of RFT and VA.

This has created a harmful state of affairs in Ventspils. Because of the refusal of banks to just accept funds for electrical energy, 40,000 tons of poisonous ammonia, which requires particular storage circumstances, might enter the setting on the port. The state of affairs was finally resolved, however residents and town’s authorities have been subjected to a number of weeks of utmost stress. 

The state of affairs has additionally worsened inside RFT, the place tens of hundreds of tons of ammonium nitrate are nonetheless being saved. On March 11 Swedbank closed RFT’s accounts, which meant terminal staff couldn’t their obtain salaries for June and July. In consequence, some staff didn’t go to work, leaving the damaging cargo unattended. In accordance with data supplied by sources from RTF, it was potential to re-open the accounts for the cost of salaries resulting from the truth that these accounts had but to be accessed by their listed beneficiaries.

Svizraa believes that the present state of affairs is unprecedented primarily as a result of the authorized pursuits of the European events, their staff and clients and the authorized pursuits of the events, should not revered. That is notably aggravated by the truth that the operations of the terminals concern the provision of agricultural merchandise, together with fertilizers and supplies, to 3rd international locations.

In accordance with EU paperwork, corporations that assure that they aren’t managed by individuals included on the sanctions lists should be granted permits by the related nationwide authorities to do enterprise within the respective nation.

Svizraa has mentioned that RFT, VA and Svizraa and its guardian firm – Quest Group DMCC – are not related to any sanctioned people. Svizraa requested Latvia’s authorities to permit for the completion and registration of the acquisition of corporations and has provided numerous methods during which the problem may very well be resolved.

A lot of that is unfolding amidst intensive discussions in regards to the influence of the sanctions on meals safety on the earth. The EU made it clear on July 21 that the bans, even these which are a part of the measures aimed toward Russia following its ongoing unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, mustn’t have an effect on the sale of agricultural merchandise to be able to keep away from additional deepening the problem of hunger in underdeveloped Third World international locations. 

“Not one of the measures adopted in the present day, in view of Russia’s actions in destabilizing the state of affairs in Ukraine, goal the commerce in agricultural and meals merchandise, together with wheat and fertilisers, between third international locations and Russia,” an EU assertion to the media mentioned.

On July 22, paperwork on the shipments of Ukrainian grain through the Black Sea and the export of Russian agricultural merchandise and fertilizers have been signed in Istanbul whereby the initiatives for the protected transportation of grain and meals from Ukrainian ports and a memorandum on the settlement between the Russian Federation and the UN Secretariat on the promotion of commerce in meals merchandise and fertilizers on world markets have been agreed.

Just a few months earlier, the US issued a basic license for transactions with Russia associated to the provision of fertilizers, meals, seeds, in addition to medical tools and medicines. The query, nonetheless, of the monetary, insurance coverage and repair corporations that ought to service these transactions has but to be resolved, it’s clear that the inexperienced gentle has been given.

European Fee Vice-President and the EU’s Commerce Commissioner, Valdis Dombrovskis, not too long ago commented on the adjustments within the EU’s agricultural coverage and Europe’s method to coverage inexperienced corridors amidst the sanctions regime. Among the many points talked about by Dombrovskis, and probably the most important for Latvia, revolves across the query of accelerating meals manufacturing. 

Meals availability and rising meals costs are at present a world drawback, which is being acutely felt in Europe. For Latvia, boosting the fertility of its soil is unimaginable with out mineral fertilizers.

As may be seen from the Svizraa case, from the present standpoint, fertilizers and uncooked supplies, together with sure varieties of drugs and meals,  must be included within the class of humanitarian help cargo. Discovering options to the uncontrolled improve in meals costs is more likely to be present in encouraging state authorities to help the transit and home commerce of fertilizers and their elements.

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