Trade and Market Information
Latvia is a member of the World Trade Organization, the European Union, the European Bank and the OSCE. The country is a signatory to the Kyoto Protocol, the Basel Convention and the International Coffee Agreement of 2001.
In terms of import and international trade, Latvia applies the principles of the European Union allowing free imports for which, in most cases, licences are not required.
In accordance with the Common Agricultural Policy, imports of agricultural products are controlled and restricted in order to promote European production. Customs tariffs are also zero, or almost zero, for EU, FTA and EFTA member countries and the country applies the Common Customs Tariff of the European Union for imports from non-European countries.
An Exchange of Goods or Intrastat Declaration is required for the import of European goods, and an Entry Summary Declaration is mandatory for import of goods within the European Union, in accordance with World Customs Organization SAFE standards.
The retail sector in Latvia includes a large proportion of supermarkets (45% of the market) competing against local shops. Although the latter are still present, large-scale retail continues to grow. Latvia enables trade with eastern European countries and Russia.
Its two main ports, Ventspils and Liepaja, never freeze ensuring permanent trade. Latvian industry is dominated by forestry where more than 1,000 businesses carry out various activities connected with wood production. This is followed by metallurgy, plastic and chemicals.
Employment Legislation in Latvia
In Latvia the legal duration of the working week is 40 hours, with a minimum wage of around 320 Euros per month. The retirement age is 55 for women and 60 for men. Employment contracts are very rigid and governed by the law and collective agreements. There are 6 major unions in Latvia: LBAS, LMDA, LGRAS, LINA, LTAP and LAKRS.
Intellectual Property Regime In Latvia
|Type of rights||Legislation||Validity of protection||Agreements signed|
|Patents||The patent law of March 30, 1995||20 years, renewable for a maximum of 5 years|
|Brands||Law on trademarks and indications of geographical origin of June 16, 1999||10 years, renewable||– Nice Agreement on the International Classification of Goods and Services
-The Madrid Agreement concerning the International Registration of Marks
|Designs||Law on the protection of industrial designs and models||5 years, renewable for a maximum of 10 years (2 x 5 years)|
|Reproduction rights||Copyright law of 6 April 2000||70 years until publication||– WIPO Copyright Treaty|
|Industrial designs||Law on the protection of industrial drawings and designs of 4 May 1993||5 years, renewable 4 times|
Latvia Political Data
In Latvia, the President (Andris Bērziņš) is elected by the Parliament for a term of four years. He controls the armed forces and appoints the Prime Minister (Laimdota Straujuma), who exercises the real executive power. Legislative power is held by the Parliament (Saeima) and its 100 members appointed by general election for four years.
The country has an unusual political landscape, because no one party can win the elections on its own and it is always necessary to form a coalition Government. The most influential parties are the following:
- New Era Party
- The People’s Party
- The First Party of Latvia
- The Latvian Green Party
- The Fatherland and Freedom Party