- Business friendly
- Low bureaucratic obstacles
- Transparent legal and judicial system
- Business without borders - EU
Being a small country in big world, Latvia is fully aware of the importance in attracting foreign investment to sustain its own economic development. As a result it has become the priority of the Latvian government and local authorities not only to streamline the procedures for doing business in Latvia but also to maintain active dialogue between the government and foreign investors. An example of this streamlining is that a company can be established in just two days, and issues of importance to investors are regularly raised with the government both through the Foreign Investors Council in Latvia and informally thanks to the easy access to officials and decision makers. As a member of the EU, Latvia shares the same rules and regulations, protecting companies from any unpleasant surprises.
In Latvia, your investment counts, consequently there is a great effort made to ensure that your business environment is as comfortable as it can be.
- Fastest GDP growth rates in Europe
- Entrepreneurial spirit
- Fast decision making process
Latvia is ripe with potential business ventures as there is a great entrepreneurial spirit that runs through the country. With the fastest GDP growth rates in Europe, 11.9% in 2006, it’s clear to see that there is also an enthusiasm here that an investor would be hard pressed to find anywhere else. However it’s not just the potential of Latvia that makes investing here so inviting, Latvia is located in the most dynamic part of Europe, The Baltic Sea Region, offering seamless access to its 100 million affluent consumers.
- Stable government policies
- Lat pegged to the Euro
- Membership to EU and NATO
Opportunity must always be balanced against stability, but the situation in Latvia provides the chance to experience both, with ample business opportunities and the stability of being a part of Europe and NATO. In addition, the Latvian government, which has been consistently centre – right, has maintained its policies throughout the various terms of governments. Financially, in addition to the well-developed financial systems in place, the Latvian Lat is pegged to the Euro at 1 Lat = 1.42 Euro, and plans to adopt the Euro.
Gateway to EU and Russia/CIS
- First and last EU board with Russia
- Fastest growing airport in Europe
- 3 non-freezing ports
- Integrated and well developed transport infrastructure.
Latvia is probably the best location to establish a business in Northern Europe. Riga itself is the largest Baltic city and located in the middle of the region, but in addition, not only is it centrally located in Northern Europe - the basis of Latvia's economic success but also it is the first and last EU boarder with Russia (except for Estonia and Finland), making it ideal for East/West trade. The Trans-Baltic highway runs the length of the country, providing a transport corridor North-South while the highway to Moscow is a developed trucking route, connecting East-West. These routes also connect to Riga International Airport, which has over 44 direct destinations, and is the fastest growing capital city airport in Europe. The Trans Siberian railway connects Riga with Moscow by the shortest and most direct route and importantly, the two countries share common railway gauge standards, providing an infrastructure base to facilitate the growing trade flows between the EU and Russia / CIS. Undoubtedly, the main asset of Latvia is its maritime links, Latvia has a total of 3 NON-FREEZING international ports linked into the county’s infrastructure by rail, road and pipeline.
Access to Skills
- Highly educated and multi-lingual workforce
- Northern European culture and work ethic
- Business knowledge and experience with Russia/CIS
Overall, there are few countries with a better-trained or better-motivated work force than Latvia. The highly educated workforce is rated 1st in Europe and 2nd in the world for University students per capita, and it has a Northern European culture and work ethic. In addition, the history of Latvia equips it with unequalled experience and business knowledge when working with Russia and other CIS countries. Over 90% of Latvians speak fluent Russian and 70% of people under 40 speak English. German and Scandinavian languages are also widely spoken. Latvians are highly motivated and always ready to accept new challenges.
- Low taxes
- Competitive labour costs
- High productivity
Latvia’s Corporate Income Tax rate is among the lowest in Europe at a flat rate of 15%. Personal income tax is also at a low flat rate of 25%. Productivity growth rates are very high and increasing, this is based on companies using ground-breaking IT technology and reorganisation of human resource capabilities. Although Latvia may no longer be considered as a low cost country, its labour prices are still very competitive especially when compared to the ‘old’ EU, offering companies that ‘competitive edge’.
- State support programmes
- Special Economic Zones
- Services of LIAA
Since Latvia is a part of the European Union, companies that invest in Latvia have a high possibility of qualifying for the EU Structural Fund support scheme, which will run from 2007 to 2013. The EU Structural Fund is a support project that provides financial grants in various areas of the economy such as training programs, innovation, R&D, value added manufacturing and technology/knowledge transfer.
There are 4 SEZ (Special Economic Zones) in Latvia (3 ports and 1 inland), all well connected to all infrastructure. They offer great deals on CIT (80% discounts) and 0% VAT with no custom or exercise duties.
Source: Home page of Latvian Investment & Development Agency (LIAA)
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