Exporting to Latvia

Latvia was the 5th fastest growing economy in the EU in 2018 (Eurostat, 2020). Rapid economic growth has been driven mainly by an increase in investment and private consumption. High-quality British products are well received and the UK brand is immediately recognised. It’s an ideal starter market for UK companies new to exporting.

Ease of doing business

Latvia has a strong and open economy with a skilled workforce and scores highly in terms of ease of doing business. English is widely used as a business language and the trading relationship between Latvia and the UK is strong and friendly.

Consumer base familiar with the UK

Latvia has a population of approximately 1.9 million. It’s a sophisticated consumer market, and consumers are technologically proactive and internet literate. Domestic demand will play a major role in Latvia’s economic growth. Ties to the UK are strong, with a significant Latvian community residing in Britain.

Location and transport

Latvia occupies a strategic location at the crossroads of northern and eastern Europe. It’s at the centre of the developing Baltic states market. The country has strong transport links and is a key logistics base.

Ease of doing business

19th

out of 190 countries (World Bank, 2018)

Currency

Euro

Business languages

Latvian, English

GDP per capita

$18,032

UK is $42,558 (IMF, 2018)

Economic growth

4.8%

(IMF, 2018)

TIme zone

GMT +2

Opportunities for exporters

Doing business in Latvia is very similar to doing business in any other EU country. If your product or service is successful in the UK, there’s a good chance you’ll be successful in Latvia. There are opportunities for UK businesses in the infrastructure, energy, education and ICT sectors.

Doing business in Latvia

Preparing to Export

VAT

If you’re considering exporting to Latvia, you should make sure you’re aware of the relevant tax rates and any standards and technical regulations that apply to your products.

There are 4 VAT rates in Latvia:

  • 21% standard tariff
  • 12% lower tariff for some goods
  • 5% lower tariff for fresh foodstuffs
  • 0% for certain services related to the export, import and transport of goods

You can find the exact breakdown of taxes from the Latvian State Revenue Service. For latest tariffs, please look at the Latvian State Revenue Service website.

Corporate tax

The standard corporate tax rate in Latvia is 20%. You can find the most current information on tax rates from the Latvian State Revenue Service.

Standards and technical regualtions

Products and packaging should meet EU standards. Latvijas Standarts is the standards authority in Latvia.

Labelling requirements are harmonised with EU regulations. Labelling must be in Latvian and must contain the product name, contents, name of the manufacturer and instructions for use.

Find more more information on EU standards Find more information on Latvian standards (website in Latvian)

Phytosanitary checks

Imports/exports of live animals, products of animal origin, animal feedstuffs and plants are all subject to sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) checks. SPS checks are carried out at Latvia’s Borcer Control Posts. Exporters need to check whether their goods are subject to SPS checks and whether the entity is authorised to export animal products to the EU, failure to do so could result in destruction of the goods/refused entry. Not all points of entry into Latvia are approved for all categories of goods . Read more on the list of SPS control points in Latvia

Public procurement

According to the law public procurement processes are published and are carried out electronically via the State Electronic Procurement System (EIS in Latvian). The procurement process is supervised by Procurement Supervision Bureau that also processes complaints.

Operating in Latvia

Intellectual property

As a first step, we advise you to speak to an intellectual property (IP) lawyer if you think you need patent protection when exporting. Trademarks, designs, patents and copyright are the principal forms of IP protection available to companies and individuals.

More information about patents is available from the Latvian State Patent Board.

Payment terms

When exporting to Latvia from outside the EU, Incoterms rules usually apply. In Latvia all methods of payment are available, ranging from pre-payment to letters of credit and after-payment, depending on the type of business, and the relationship and level of trust between supplier and buyer. Before opening a credit line, you should seek legal advice and ensure proper due diligence is carried out.

Next steps

DIT can advise you on doing business abroad, and help put you in touch with other people who can help such as lawyers and distributors.