Located in the Baltic region of northeastern Europe, Latvia is a member of the European Union, Eurozone, NATO, and the World Trade Organization (WTO). Latvia became a member of the Eurozone on January 1, 2014, which further improves Latvia’s advantages as an investment destination. The Latvian government recognizes that Latvia, as a small country, must attract foreign investment in order to foster economic growth, and thus has pursued liberal economic policies, as well as developed infrastructure to position itself as a transportation hub. According to the World Bank’s Doing Business Report 2015, Latvia is ranked 25th out of 189 countries in terms of ease of doing business.
As an EU country, Latvia applies EU laws and regulations, and, according to current legislation, foreign investors possess the same rights and obligations as local investors. Any foreign investor is entitled to establish and own a company in Latvia and has the opportunity to acquire a temporary residence permit.
The commercial environment is generally friendly to foreign companies. There are no controls on import, export, or the use and conversion of foreign currencies, which facilitates investment and the repatriation of profits. The Latvian government has adopted modern laws establishing copyrights, patents and trademarks and the means for enforcing their protection. Telecommunication services are modern and among the highest in quality in the EU, and the real estate market provides both modern residential and business space. English is widely spoken in government and business.
Many U.S. companies doing business in Latvia rate the business environment among the best in Central and Eastern Europe. Since May 2014, the credit rating agency Standard & Poor’s has given Latvia the fourth highest investment grade A- indicating its economic strength and improving national wealth. The legal system, tax structures, and trade and other regulations have been significantly modified to harmonize with EU standards. Most EU directives have been incorporated into the Latvian legislative system.