Doing Business with Latvia

Basic data
Capital Riga
Population million
Language Latvian (official), Russian
Religion Lutheran (24%), Roman Catholic (18%), Orthodox-Orthodox (15%)
State system a democratic parliamentary republic headed by a president elected by the parliament
Head of State Egils Levits
Head of government Arturs Krišjānis Kariņš
Currency name Euro (EUR)
Time shift +1 hour compared to the Czech Republic
Economy 2021
Nominal GDP (billion USD) 46
Economic growth (%) 1.8
Inflation (%) 3.3
Unemployment (%) 7.7

Latvia regained its independence from the USSR on August 21, 1991. It is a member of the United Nations (1991), the European Union (2004), NATO (2004) and the OECD (2016). In 2007, it became part of the Schengen area and in 2014 it adopted the single European currency, the euro. As part of its foreign policy, it is very active in the region – it develops very close cooperation with other Baltic countries and Nordic states, in regional cooperation organizations such as the Council of the Baltic Sea States or the Nordic-Baltic Eight, the so-called NB8.

After the outbreak of the global economic crisis in 2008, the relatively stable economy experienced a dramatic decline, which affected the development of the country for almost the entire following decade. In 2009, a negative GDP growth of -14.35% was recorded, and from 2010 the Latvian economy gradually recovered. In 2019, the GDP growth rate was 2.2%, and for 2020, further GDP growth of up to 2.6% was expected. But the optimistic assumptions were affected by the COVID crisis and the economy slowed down significantly, and in 2021 GDP grew by only 1.8%.

In terms of price level growth, the average annual inflation rate since 2010 has been 1.85%. The most stable period for Latvia was the years 2012-2013, in which the increase in price levels was zero. Until 2019, prices grew at an average rate of 2.2% per year, but already in 2021, inflation exceeded the psychological threshold of 3%.

Latvia entered 2022 weakened after almost two years of the pandemic with the hope of a quick recovery, however, after the outbreak of the war in Ukraine in February 2022, there were secondary effects of sanctions and the disruption of trade chains, and economic growth unfortunately experienced a further slowdown. Added to this was a record increase in inflation, up to 13% year-on-year in April 2022. Although the economy has shaken its foundations for the second time in a very short time, in the second half of the year, according to the economists of the National Bank of Latvia, the situation should stabilize somewhat.

Despite growth hopes, Latvia can be labeled as one of the poorest countries in Europe (according to the OECD – see OECD report from March 2022 ). This is mainly due to the high percentage of people at risk of poverty and their constant increase, as well as the long-term decline of the population. Especially. people of working age leave for work and better living conditions to Western Europe, or to the USA or Canada.



Practical telephone numbers (emergency services, police, firemen, information lines, etc.)

Latvia international dialing code: +371

First /medical/ aid: 113 (free from landline)

or you can call the number of the integrated rescue system (also from a mobile phone): 112

Police: 110 or 112 (free from a landline)

Firefighters: 112 (free from a landline)

Information on phone numbers: 1188 (in Latvian, Russian, English)

Useful information about the situation regarding COVID-19 in Latvia – the official website of the Government of LR on the issue of COVID-19

Important web links and contacts


  • Institution

Presidential office

Government (with links to ministries)


Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Ministry of Economy

Ministry of Finance

Ministry of Regional Development and Environment

Ministry of Education and Science

Ministry of Culture

Ministry of Social Affairs

Ministry of Defense

Ministry of Transport and Communications

Ministry of the Environment

Ministry of Agriculture

Ministry of Health

Ministry of Justice

Financial and Capital Market Commission

National Bank of Latvia

Statistical office

Riga Stock Exchange

Latvian Investment and Development Agency

Latvian Privatization Agency

Chamber of Commerce and Industry

Commercial register

World Trade Center Riga

State Land Office

Consumer Rights Protection Center

Social policy

Latvian Academy of Sciences


Customs Administration

Immigration and Migration Office

Fire and Rescue Service

  • Other

Government information portal on the issue of COVID-19

Info website

Public transport connections in Riga

Riga International Airport (RIX)

Latvian-English dictionary Latvian language


PaulSourcing: Ten Commandments for Doing Business with Latvia

The PaulSourcing agency has prepared ten recommendations for doing business with Latvia for Czech entrepreneurs interested in business relations with Latvia. In 2020, it was supplemented with 4 current tips for trade with the Baltics.

4 recommendations for entering the Baltic market during the coronavirus pandemic:

  1. Market research Before starting intensive market penetration activities in the Baltic region, the differences between Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia should be taken into account, which may affect the success of market entry. These are linguistic, cultural, but above all socio-economic differences, which reflect the different economic level of individual countries, as well as the price level and purchasing power of the population. The coronavirus experience may affect business processes and the needs of local firms, but representatives of these companies will find it difficult to change their way of business communication. The team of PaulSourcing’s foreign office in the Baltics (ZK Pobaltí) will inform you about the specifics of business negotiations with Lithuanians, Latvians, Estonians and the Russian-speaking population living in the region.
  2. Finding a business partner The differences between Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia go hand in hand with the need to find a suitable business partner in each country separately. Only big players on the market, with branches in the individual Baltic states, can provide high-quality service to the entire region. Free databases (own for each country) provide a limited amount of information, a comprehensive search for suitable business partners requires the use of keywords in local national languages ​​(possibly in Russian). Estonian company websites in particular have a different language mutation than Estonian rather exceptionally. Searching for potential business partners, finding out their turnover and approaching contact persons from these companies also belong to the activities of ZK Pobaltí.
  3. Personal meetings In order to establish a long-term business partnership, personal (and repeated) meetings with representatives of local companies are often necessary. In the Baltics, you don’t do business with a company, but with a person. ZK Pobaltí monitors the current restrictions for business trips to Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia for you and regularly updates the situation on the website.
  4. New investment opportunities The Baltic states have announced significant investments in infrastructure and municipal projects as part of supporting their economies in the post-coronavirus era. ZK Pobaltí will publish information about these projects, announced tenders and opportunities for Czech exporters on its website.

Ten Commandments for Trading with Latvia

  1. Activity is appreciated Be active and patient, don’t let the contact “fizzle out”.
  2. Choose a face-to-face meeting . The best way to gain your partner’s trust and important information is during a personal meeting.
  3. Touching is not taboo Don’t be surprised if your local partner starts touching you from the start and calls you by your first name. Adapt to him.
  4. Use Russian You will usually conduct negotiations in Russian. You will apply English in fields such as marketing, media, IT and in senior management. Academic degrees are rarely listed in Latvia.
  5. You can sleep in. Latvians get up later and their working day usually starts around nine o’clock. Accordingly, for example, lunch is moved to one in the afternoon. Latvians are usually at work until six or seven in the evening.
  6. Expect flexibility in time The dates of decisions are moved relatively often in Latvia.
  7. Be patient If you are going to open a bank account in Latvia as a non-resident, be prepared for a lengthy process.
  8. Take advantage of the introduction of your brand at the fair You will increase your prestige and credibility by participating in local industry exhibitions, where you can best present your brand in the market. You might be surprised that it’s not too expensive either.
  9. Use references from previous businesses Your references from the Nordic countries, Germany or Russia will be a welcome business argument.
  10. Be honest Latvia is a small market – if you act without your existing partner’s knowledge, they will usually find out.


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