The association "Latvijas Koks" is the first organization of the field established after gaining independence. Its background is connected with the State wood processing associations and companies economic association with the same name.
The name "Latvijas Koks" appeared for the first time in the field in 1928 and it was related with the forest usage joint-stock company that was established by the leading wood manufacturers and entrepreneurs of that time whose aim was forest management, preparation of timber for the needs of veneer manufacture, and internal and external trade with timber. The joint-stock company went bankrupt in 1933 under the influence of world economic crisis.
The next attempt to unite the companies in the field followed in 1937 when the trade and manufacture joint-stock company "Latvijas koks" was established. The aim of this company was also the purchase and management of forest properties by obtaining timber and selling it in processed and unprocessed form. It had to deal also with the regulation of timber export. "Latvijas koks" took over the two largest sawmills of that time – one in Riga, the other in Ventspils, and several wood processing companies in rural regions. At the same time the general issues were solved by Latvian Association of Wood Manufacturers and Sellers. Operation of both companies was interrupted by the beginning of World War II.
Excerpt from the book “WOOD IN THE LIFE OF LATVIAN COUNTRY AND NATION” written in 2014 by J. Emsiņš and published by the students’ association "Šalkone":
"The association «Latvijas Koks» was established on 1 March 1990 with the order of Ministry of Industry of Latvian SSR. The establishment was based on establishment meeting minutes No. 1 as of 16 August 1989 and decision No. 45 “About the governance system of industry of Latvian SSR” made on 28 February 1990 by the Council of Minister of Latvian SSR”.
Heads or chief engineers of 13 companies and associations of companies and observers from LSSR government participated in the establishment meeting on 16 August 1989. The meeting decided to establish the economic association «Latvijas koks», and Juris Biķis, Director General of Latvian Veneer Association was elected as the president.
All establishing companies joined the association, except for the State Wood Processing Industrial Complex «Ventspils koks». The highest management body of the economic association was the general meeting of shareholders. The Council consisting of the managers of the companies and associations, president, production director, technical director, assistant president managed the association during the period between the general meetings. Three Vice-Presidents: Jaris Čakstiņš (director of State Bolderāja Wood complex processing industrial complex), Romāns Kumerovs (director general of Latvian scientifically technical association «Gauja») and Jānis Kivlenieks (director general of State Riga Furniture Industrial Complex) were elected with the decision of the Council of association.
The economic association «Latvijas koks» was one of the first three associations of non-governmental organizations in the field of industry. Since Latvia had no own legislation yet, the association was operating in accordance with the USSR law “On State Enterprise (association)” and “On cooperation”. Although the association was a non-governmental organization, it succeeded several state functions and it was the superior organization for the companies that were the members of the association for the whole period it existed (to 9 September 1991). Salaries for the heads of the companies were determined by the Council of the associations, but the president of the association dismissed and appointed new directors. Ministry of Industry allocated a payment fund for the salaries of employees of the association within the framework of which the management of the association could handle freely.
The main tasks of the Council of the association were determination of directions of economic, social and technical development of the field, coordination of state orders, large investments and external economic activity. To perform these tasks, the association had to solve different general issues of the development of the field:
- elaborate the prospective plans of the economic and social development;
- to ensure the participation of the association and its companies in the development of All-Union, republic and international programs;
- to determine the principal directions of the politics of scientifically technical development of the field (in this regard nothing was accomplished);
- to distribute the state orders in proportion to the resources;
- to ensure rational location of the production and deepening of specialization of the companies;
- to elaborate the capital construction plans;
- to elaborate measures to consolidate the financial state of the companies;
- to create conditions for stable material technical supply of the companies;
- to coordinate the politics and increase of qualification of the staff;
- to organize the external economic operation of the companies.
The mentioned tasks were solved by the statutory staff of the association who according to the functions worked in the direction of production, technical and economical activity. The management of the state wood processing companies and associations’ economic association «Latvijas koks» consisted of:
- President and Chairman of the Council Juris Biķis;
- Vice-Presidents and Members of the Council Juris Čakstiņš, Jānis Kivlenieks, Romāns Kumerovs;
- Production Director and Member of the Council Moisejs Levenšteins;
- Technical Director and Member of the Council Andris Plezers;
- Assistant President and Secretary of the Council Teodors Heniņš.
The economic association existed to 9 September 1991 when with change of Latvian legislation, the place for non-governmental organizations was "shown". There was no law yet about the non-profit organizations so the association had to become one of the business organizations. The most suitable form – SIA (Ltd.) – for that time was chosen. SIA "Asociācija Latvijas koks" continued the work of the economic association, only the funding was not centralized anymore – the association had to earn it money. For this reason, three enterprises were established within the framework of SIA: resources, external trade and timber supply. The enterprise of resources dealt with the centralized materially technical supply of the enterprises, the enterprise of the external trade – with sale of the products manufactured by the enterprises, but the timber supply enterprise organized and implemented the supply of round timber. SIA collected the commission for the performed services.
The economic activity of SIA was quite successful, however over the time when the companies developed, their took over the commercial activity and the commission services of SIA gradually decreased. First, the timber, then resources enterprise was liquidated and finally the external trade enterprise was reformed.
Thus, the content of functions performed by the association gradually changed and it started to resemble more and more a model of world-wide accepted public organization that represents the field in all areas of operation as a non-governmental organization. So it was decided to establish a public organization "Asociācija Latvijas koks" and work parallelly at liquidation of SIA "Asociācija Latvijas koks".
The public organization "Asociācija Latvijas koks" was established on 7 August 1995. 19 wood processing companies participated in the establishment of the association, its management consisted of the president, Chairman of the Council and Board - Juris Biķis (at that time president of the joint-stock company "Latvijas finieris"), and Executive Director, Member of the Council and Board Andris Plezers.
The association cooperated actively with other non-governmental organizations of the field, educational and science institutions, state authorities. It had an important role when determining the directions of international activities and elaborating a joint approach in the issue about the consolidation of the wood processing field by forming the Latvian Forest Industry Federation. Our representatives participated also in the project “About the optimization and improvement of Latvian forest administration” funded by FAO.
Materials from the publication "Association Latvijas koks over 10 years"
by A. Plezers, A. Ziemelis and B. Pumpīte, 2000, were used in this section.