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U.S. Department of State
LATVIA Country Commercial Guide for FY 95-96 
Office of the Coordinator for Business Affairs  
 
 
                  Country Commercial Guide for FY 95-96 
                           LATVIA 
 
 
                        TABLE OF CONTENTS 
 
 
CHAPTER I.     EXECUTIVE SUMMARY 
CHAPTER II.    ECONOMIC TRENDS & OUTLOOK 
CHAPTER III    POLITICAL ENVIRONMENT 
CHAPTER IV.    MARKETING U.S. PRODUCTS & SERVICES 
CHAPTER V.     LEADING TRADE PROSPECTS FOR U.S. BUSINESS 
CHAPTER VI     TRADE REGULATIONS & STANDARDS 
CHAPTER VII    INVESTMENT CLIMATE 
CHAPTER VIII.  TRADE & PROJECT FINANCING 
CHAPTER IX.    BUSINESS TRAVEL 
CHAPTER X.     APPENDICES 
    A. COUNTRY DATA 
        -- Country Profile 
        -- Domestic Economy 
        -- Trade 
    B. U.S. & LATVIAN CONTACTS 
    C. LATVIAN TRADE FAIRS & EXHIBITIONS 
 
 
 
                     CHAPTER I.  EXECUTIVE SUMMARY 
 
Since re-achieving independence in 1991, Latvia has made striking 
progress toward restoring a market economy and completing reforms to 
help it recapture the prosperity of the pre-World War II years.  With a 
population of 2.5  million, Latvia is a relatively small, but 
potentially attractive, market for American  computers and office 
equipment, building products, capital machinery and equipment, and 
consumer products.  One of the country's strongest business attractions 
is its capital, Riga, which has emerged  as a commercial, financial and 
transportation hub for Russia/Baltic region.  Latvia is the central of 
the three Baltic States; just over a third of its population is 
concentrated in Riga, the largest city in the Baltic's.   
 
The commercial environment is very friendly to American companies, a 
fact underscored by President Clinton's signature of a bilateral 
agreement on trade relations and intellectual property rights protection 
during his July 1994 visit to Riga.The United States and Latvia also 
signed a bilateral investment treaty in January 1995.  The country has 
no controls on import, export,  nor  use and conversion of foreign 
currencies, making investment and repatriation of profits exceptionally 
easy.  The Latvian government has adopted modern laws establishing 
copyrights, patents and trademarks.  The mechanism for enforcing 
intellectual property rights protection is under development.  
Telecommunications are being rapidly modernized under a commercial 
agreement between Lattelekom, the Latvian telecommunications company, 
and a consortium of British and Finnish companies.  Office space is both 
relatively easy to find and inexpensive -- six  to thirty-five dollars 
per square meter.  English is the West European language of choice in 
government and business.    
 
In considering the long-term prospects for the Latvian market, Americans 
should bear in mind that, having re-achieved freedom after fifty years 
of occupation, Latvia is a recovering country, not a developing country.  
Many Latvians have educations, values and aspirations similar to those 
of middle-class inhabitants in Northern and Western Europe.  While these 
Latvians do not have the income to match their aspirations, there is 
every reason to believe that they  are working hard to attain it. We can 
expect continued steady progress in rebuilding their shattered economy. 
 
American products face strong competition in the Latvian market from 
Western and Northern  European competitors.  Latvia has free trade 
agreements with the European Union,  Norway  and Switzerland.  In April 
1994, a trilateral free trade agreement between the three Baltic 
countries went into effect, abolishing all tariffs on industrial 
products. The Baltic States have reached an agreement to establish a 
customs union by 1998.  Bolstered by historical trade relations between 
Latvia and their countries, companies from Sweden, Germany and Finland 
approach the Latvian market with great confidence.  American companies 
have the advantage that the U.S. hosts the largest Latvian emigre 
community in the world. Hundreds of Latvian-Americans have returned to 
Latvia to assume leading roles in government and business; their 
activities have created strong bonds between the U.S. and Latvia for the 
first time in the two countries' histories. 
 
As in other countries to emerge from the old Soviet Bloc,  government 
bureaucracy, corruption and organized crime are the most significant 
hurdles to U.S. trade and investment in Latvia.  While these obstacles 
make it more complex to do business in Latvia than in the West, very few 
of the U.S. companies that have tested the Latvian market have found the 
problems insurmountable.  In part, this is because foreign companies 
enjoy relatively easy access to senior government officials in this 
small country.  Most U.S. companies doing business in Latvia rate the 
business environment as among the best to be found in Eastern Europe or 
the former Soviet Union. However, because the courts and legal system 
are not yet functioning as they would in the industrialized West and the 
Latvian regulatory and tax structures are still at a formative stage, 
there are fairly high levels of uncertainty associated with doing 
business in Latvia.  U.S. companies operating successfully in Latvia 
accept the higher risk as part of the price of getting in on the ground 
floor in the expanding East European and Russian markets.    
 
Country Commercial guides are available on the National Trade Data Bank 
on CD-ROM through the Internet. Please contact Stat-USA at 1-800-STAT-
USA for more information. To locate Country Commercial Guides via 
Internet, please use the following World Wide Web address: www.stat-
usa.gov. CCG's can also be ordered in hard copy or on diskette from the 
national technical information service (NTIS) at 1-800-553-NTIS. 
 
 
               CHAPTER II.  ECONOMIC TRENDS & OUTLOOK 
 
Since independence was restored in August 1991, Latvia has made steady 
progress toward replacing the centrally planned, socialist system 
imposed during the Soviet period with a structure based on free market 
principles.  Latvia's growing private sector is estimated to account for 
as much as 50 percent of the country's GDP.    Inflation has fallen to 
26.3 percent in 1994 from the previous heights of 34.2 percent  in 1993 
and 958 percent in 1992. In 1995,  the rate is expected to hold at the 
level of 1994  due to continued adjustment to world prices for energy 
and other utilities, new tax structure, inflationary expectations and 
growth in the money supply. Latvia has a freely convertible national 
currency, the lat, which has appreciated against world currencies. In 
order to maintain stability, it is now loosely pegged to the SDR. 
 
Led by recovery in light industry and a boom in trade and finance, the 
economy expanded by estimated two percent in 1994. However,  in 1995 the 
Latvian government is experiencing serious budgetary problems as tax 
collections have not been able to keep pace with growing financial 
needs. In addition, the largest commercial bank and a number of small 
banks collapsed. As the economy struggles with these twin crises, GDP 
growth is expected to be very modest or flat in 1995. Nonetheless, the 
basic thrust of economic reform is not in jeopardy. As a result of the 
measures undertaken  in the financial and banking system,   Latvian 
economy will emerge on a stronger, more stable footing in the years 
ahead. 
 
Latvian Ministry of Finance reported exports of $967 million and imports 
of $1,367 million in 1994, resulting in a trade deficit of $400 million.  
The data is based on customs declarations and is not a reliable 
reflection of Latvia's total trade.  Recorded trade data suggest that 
CIS countries are Latvia's largest trade partners, accounting for  
42.7 percent of the country's recorded exports and 30.46 percent of its 
recorded imports in 1994. Estimates are that Latvia experienced a 
balance of payments deficit in 1994.   Structural reform has proceeded 
most rapidly in agriculture and in the privatization of small 
enterprises.  Over 58,000 private farms have been established and most 
remaining collective farms transformed into private joint stock 
companies.  However, many of Latvia's new farmers are operating at 
subsistence levels due to lack of financial resources, credit and 
unsustainable small acreage.  Control over urban and rural property is 
being returned to former owners, but  legal mechanisms for title 
registration, sale and mortgaging of real property are not yet fully 
developed. A real land market will not begin to develop until 1996 when 
land will be available for purchase in cash, as well as vouchers.  The 
food processing industry is undergoing privatization, which has already 
been completed for the dairy industry.  Overall, however, the pace of 
privatization of large industrial enterprises has been slow. Industrial 
privatization has lagged, in part because large industrial enterprises 
are often outdated, over-sized and inefficient. Recovery in light 
industry and transit trade, as well as  Riga's emergence as a regional 
financial and commercial center is helping to offset shrinkage of the 
state-owned industrial sector and agriculture. 
 
Foreign investment in Latvia is still modest compared with levels in 
Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic. On a per capita basis, FDI is 
very high, but the statistics are skewed by the very large investment in 
the telecommunication system. As of March 1, 1995, direct foreign 
investment amounted to $360 million.  This statistic is based on 
registered statutory capital of foreign joint venture and is unreliable.   
 
In agriculture, Latvia has historically been a net exporter of 
agricultural products, led by dairy products, processed meat and fish.   
Prior to independence, the Soviet Union was Latvia's largest market for 
food products, accounting for 66 percent of the country's total 
agricultural market.  In 1994, however, the agricultural trade balance 
was negative. Latvia exported $131.5 million and  imported $138.2 
million in agricultural product.  Forestry products dominated the 
Latvian foreign trade, totaling $218.4 million, a 20.3 percent share of 
exports.    
 
Major infrastructure projects under consideration include construction 
of a thermo-electric power plant at the port city of Liepaja and 
upgrading the  Via Baltica, the highway connecting the Baltic countries 
to the rest of central Europe. Expansion of Ventspils and Liepaja port 
facilities are also planned. A number of smaller hydropower projects and 
renovation of thermal power plants will be undertaken in the next few 
years. 
 
Latvia's existing road network is good, but requires widening and 
additional paving. Likewise, the rail links to Russia are strong, though 
train track and road crossing need improvement to handle higher speeds. 
The largest commercial port, Riga, is well-equipped but could use input 
of modern management techniques. Riga international airport has been 
brought up to near Western standards and is capable of expanded 
services. Riga has the potential to serve as a regional airline hub. 
 
 
                CHAPTER III.   POLITICAL ENVIRONMENT 
 
Latvia has excellent bilateral relations with the U.S. and seeks to 
improve them. The leading political issue that could affect Latvia's 
business climate would be any serious downturn in relations with Russia.  
While the Latvian government and all major political parties support a 
free-market system, Soviet methodology and regulatory tradition 
sometimes linger among lower-level bureaucrats.  
 
Latvia is a parliamentary democracy. On September 30 -October 1, the 
country held its second parliamentary elections since regaining 
independence. The vote was split among the few right, leftist and 
centrist parties. At this time it is not clear in which direction the 
new government will lean. However, economic reforms will probably 
continue, perhaps at a slower pace. 
 
          CHAPTER IV.   MARKETING U.S. PRODUCTS & SERVICES 
 
Marketing consumer products in Latvia is inhibited by the lack of large 
distributors or wholesalers. Food and grocery import, wholesale and 
retail operations are handled by private food wholesale companies, only 
a handful of which are considered reliable and strong enough to engage 
in  foreign commercial activity. Interpegro, Prodimpex, Vildoga, Imanta, 
Atlas, Riteks are among the larger Latvian  companies having their own 
network of small food stores and groceries, or supplying the myriad of 
small retail outlets that characterize the Latvian commercial scene.  
Meat processing enterprises also import meat or livestock directly.  
Seasonal agriculture and food products are still mainly sold to the 
public at farmers markets located in largest cities, although there is a 
growing network of small grocery and produce stores.  Traditionally, 
most grocery shopping has been done in small specialized stores, such as 
a dairy store or a corner bakery. The first supermarkets have begun to 
open in the past years.  Variety in grocery stores is improving; 
however, some product groups, such as  fat-free or ethnic products from 
other parts of the world are not available. 
 
At present, there are no laws that regulate the relationship between a 
foreign company and its distributors or agents in Latvia. A distributor  
relationship can be terminated according to the provisions stipulated in 
each specific distributor agreement. 
 
Franchising is not well known or understood in Latvia. There are no laws 
regulating it, therefore franchise agreements might be difficult  to 
enforce. 
 
A joint venture with a local partner can be a significant help for a US 
company that has no experience with the east European business 
practices. A good bet is a company that is already registered with the 
Latvian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.  It is, however, highly 
advisable to find out as much as possible about potential partners. The 
basic data on a local company as well as its credit  ratings can be 
obtained from Latvian companies that are specialized in business 
information services, but the system is not yet well developed. 
 
If a foreign company decides to set up a subsidiary in Latvia, three 
forms of business organization are available to it: 
      
      -- the limited liability company (SIA); 
      -- the joint stock company (AS); and 
      -- the representative (branch) office of a foreign company. 
 
Limited liability and joint stock companies are established upon 
registration with the Latvian Enterprise Register.  A limited liability 
company has the rights of a juridical person and may be established with 
a minimum statutory capital of 2,000 lats by a physical person or 
another company.  A limited liability company may have up to 50 
shareholders.  Companies with more than 50 shareholders, as well as 
companies that make public offerings of securities or those formed by 
privatizing state enterprises using privatization certificates must be 
established as joint stock companies, which is a less popular form of 
organization for foreign investors since the structure and legal 
requirements for registration are more complicated than for limited 
liability companies.  A joint stock company also has the rights of a 
juridical person.  A  joint stock company may be established with a 
minimum statutory capital of 5,000 lats (higher amounts are required to 
establish banks, insurance companies, currency exchanges and pawnshops).  
Establishment of a foreign bank branch is subject to the approval of the 
Bank of Latvia.  
 
Representative offices of foreign companies may be established for an 
initial period of five years with the permission of the Ministry of 
Justice.   The fee for opening a representative office is $800;  
extensions cost $100.  Non-profit organizations and branch operations 
without an office in Latvia may be established for $50.   
 
Market for consumer products in Latvia is fragmented. Consumer 
preferences differ significantly among various income, age and ethnic 
groups. 
 
No reliable data on income distribution is available; according to the 
research conducted by the Statistics Committee, 13.6% of the surveyed 
households currently experience no financial problems, 56% barely make 
ends meet, 15% are in debt (virtually no loans are available for 
consumption purposes, households in great need for money borrow from 
friends or relatives), 15.4% are not sure of how to characterize their 
financial situation. 
 
The rich constitute some fraction of those 13.6 percent that are 
satisfied with their income level. For those people, product and  store 
image is very important. High prices are often seen as indicators of 
good quality.  
 
For the "middle class" and poor price is what matters the most, but, due 
to pent-up demand for luxury goods, purchasing behavior can at times 
seem irrational.  
 
Advertising may be conducted freely in any printed or electronic media. 
The leading newspaper in Latvia is "Diena" (Day), which is published in 
both Latvian and Russian.  The leading business newspapers are "Dienas 
Bizness" (Business of the Day), published in Latvian, and "Biznes I 
Baltiya" (Business and the Baltics), published in Russian.  "Vakara 
Zinas" is a popular tabloid. "SM-Segodnia" is widely read by the  
Russian-speaking population. 
 
Applications for the grant of a patent or registration of a trademark 
can be made in Latvian, English, Russian, or German to the Latvian 
patent office, either directly or through a legal representative.  Any 
patent or trademark may be invalidated by a court if it does not meet 
the legal requirements for granting a patent or the substantive 
provisions for registering a trademark.  Intellectual property rights 
may be enforced through Latvian court action.   
 
Consultation with a Latvian attorney is recommended before establishing 
a business or an intellectual property right in Latvia.  While an 
attorney must be a Latvian citizen to be admitted to the bar, a number 
of practicing attorneys in Riga are dual-national emigres who have 
received their entire legal education in the United States or Canada.   
 
 
       CHAPTER V.  LEADING TRADE PROSPECTS FOR U.S. BUSINESS 
 
The Latvian market appears to hold the most potential for American  
computers and office equipment, capital goods, and consumer products.  
U.S. products enjoy a particular cachet because they are American; 
companies frequently attempt to market products and services on the 
basis of their "American-ness," sometimes even for products that are 
essentially Latvian.  Fed by flight capital from Russia and a booming 
business community, the market for imported consumer goods, particularly 
in Riga, is substantially richer than the country's per capital GDP 
level of $1,515 (approximate 1994 data) would suggest.    
 
The private sector is expanding very rapidly in Latvia.  There is a high 
demand for office supplies and equipment, particularly computers, 
cellular telephones, copiers, and fax machines.  During the Soviet 
years, houses and office buildings were allowed to deteriorate.  The 
commercial boom sweeping Riga and, to a lesser degree, other Latvian 
cities has contributed to very wide-scale rehabilitation of commercial 
property.  Virtually all products associated with building 
rehabilitation -- paint, doors, windows, locks, plumbing equipment, 
lighting and alarm systems -- are in high demand.  Sheetrock, which was 
unknown during the Soviet period, is beginning to be used.  
Privatization of apartments is scheduled to begin soon and should 
contribute further to the demand for construction materials.    
 
While Latvian heavy industry is on its back due to the shrinkage of 
orders from Russia and other former-Soviet countries, there are signs of 
revival in light industry, particularly textiles and clothing 
manufacture, and in the timber and wood products industries.  The best 
prospects for sales of capital goods are in these industries, and in the 
upgrading of plants producing electricity and supplying district 
heating.  Good prospects also appear to exist for metering devices.    
Sales of capital equipment in the agribusiness area have been hampered 
by the lack of financing.  As loans to agribusiness become available, a 
good potential market may be developing for food packaging and 
processing equipment.  Water purification equipment for commercial and 
institutional users is another promising niche market.  Frozen foods, 
another unknown during the Soviet era, are coming on the market in 
Latvia, creating a demand for commercial freezers and display cases.  
 
The best opportunities for agricultural products are for items not 
produced in these latitudes, including cotton, tobacco, rice, fresh and 
dried tropical fruit, and seeds.  The main agricultural imports in 1994 
were sugar and confectionery -- $17.4 million, alcoholic beverages -- 
$17.0 million,  fruits and nuts -- $14.6 million. Latvia is also 
potentially a very good market for consumer-ready convenience foods, 
snacks and drinks.  New entrants will have to be aggressive, as 
suppliers from European countries have established distributor networks 
for such products as beverages, coffee, cheese, tobacco, and yogurt. 
 
Viewed strategically, Latvia is attractive as a gateway to larger 
regional markets, including northwestern Russia with a population of 44 
million, Belarus (population 10.3 million) and other two Baltic 
countries (combined population 5.1 million).  In this context, Latvia's 
capital, Riga, ranks with St. Petersburg and Moscow as one of three 
regional centers for commerce, finance and transportation.   
 
 
            CHAPTER VI.  TRADE REGULATIONS & STANDARDS 
 
The Latvian customs tariff system is still evolving. Under the new 
tariff law that was adopted in December 1994, Latvian customs tariffs on 
raw materials, spare parts and capital goods are 0.5 to 1 percent. 
Latvia extends MFN treatment to U.S. products, with consumer product 
tariffs at about 15%.  Tariffs on agricultural products are relatively 
higher, reflecting the desire of Latvian farmers for protection. 
According to the Latvian -EU agreement, tariffs on some agricultural and 
industrial goods of EU-origin will be gradually lowered starting in 
1996. The new tariff law also contains anti-dumping measures and  new 
methods for customs valuation. Valuation of agricultural products is 
based on EU import prices.  
 
Latvia currently licenses imports of sugar, grains, alcohol and arms. 
There are no other quantitative constraints on imports.  Latvian tariff 
classifications are based on the Harmonized Commodity Description and 
Coding System (HCDC). 
 
In addition to tariffs, imports are subject to excise taxes and the 18 
percent VAT. Fixed investment goods imported into Latvia are not subject 
to VAT provided the  importer is a registered VAT-payer and the imported 
asset does not threaten Latvian competitiveness. Zero percent tax rate 
is levied on export services, international transportation  and services 
related to export of goods. Excise taxes are applied to alcoholic 
beverages, tobacco, jewelry, cars and gasoline, at rates varying from 
10% (cars) to 100% (tobacco products).  Import documentation required by 
Latvian customs authorities are a copy of the contract, an invoice, a 
bill of lading indicating the amount, weight and value of goods, and an 
original copy of a certificate of origin (form EUR.1 or form A).  At the 
border, an importer or his agent must complete a customs declaration and 
a customs freight delivery note.    
 
For meat imports, the State Veterinary Department provides border 
inspection controls for bovine spongiform encephalopathy, classical 
swine fever, salmonella, etc. Imported food products are required to 
have conformity certificates to guarantee quality and wholesomeness of 
food products. Latvia is still formulating food safety standards.  A 
producer's declaration or a food conformity certificate is required for 
food imports, cosmetics and toys. 
 
Transit freight (mainly to and from Russia) must take place in special 
customs convoys for  shipments of non-ferrous metal or metal scrap or 
hazardous cargoes such as chemical, explosives, ammunition, or drugs, as 
well as alcohol or tobacco.  The convoy fee is 100 lats per truck.  A 
high security deposit may be paid at the border in lieu of convoy.  The 
security deposit is transferred to the customer's bank account two 
months after the shipment has left Latvian territory. 
 
Some Latvian exports (mainly raw materials, metals, antiques and art 
works) are subject to an export tax. 
 
Latvia is pursuing foreign trade policies consistent with market reforms 
and the need to diversify country's trade partners beyond the former 
Soviet Union.  On January 1, 1995, a phased implementation of the Free 
Trade Agreement with the European Union has begun. Latvia also has free 
trade agreements with Norway and Switzerland.    In April 1994, a 
trilateral free trade agreement between the three Baltic countries was 
implemented, abolishing all tariffs on industrial products.  A separate 
protocol on agricultural,  forestry and fishery products is still being 
negotiated.   Latvia is expected to join the World Trade Organization by 
the end of 1995 or early 1996. 
 
 
                   CHAPTER VII.  INVESTMENT CLIMATE 
 
A1 - Openness to Foreign Investment 
 
The Latvian government is actively trying to encourage foreign direct 
investment.   
 
Under the 1991 Investment Law, the laws of the Republic of Latvia apply 
equally to domestic and foreign investors, but there are some 
restrictions on foreign investment.  Acquisition of controlling shares 
in a Latvian enterprise with assets exceeding $1 million must be 
approved by the Cabinet of Ministers.  Under the Investment Law, the 
criterion for evaluating a proposed acquisition is the impact of the 
proposed investment in regard to: 
 
     -- the Latvian economy, particularly with respect to the creation 
of new jobs, the use of local resources and services, and the export of 
goods manufactured in Latvia; 
 
     -- raising productivity, developing technology, improving product  
quality and diversity in Latvia;  
 
     -- competition in the respective industry; 
 
     -- the potential for the economic domination of Latvia by foreign 
countries;  
 
     -- the competitive position of Latvian products in the 
international market; and 
 
     -- impact on environmental situation. 
 
To date, screening appears not to be a barrier to foreign investment.    
 
Under the Investment Law, foreign investors may engage in, but not 
obtain control over, enterprises engaged in activities related to 
national defense; the manufacture and sale of narcotics, weapons and 
explosives, securities, banknotes, coins and stamps; the mass media; 
national education; acquisition of renewable and nonrenewable national 
resources; internal fisheries; hunting and port management.  Latvia does 
not restrict the repatriation of profits.  In January, 1995 the United 
States and Latvia signed an agreement on mutual protection of 
investments. 
 
Restrictions exist regarding land ownership by foreigners. A foreign 
investor is allowed to lease land for up to 99 years. Companies that are 
owned by foreigners can purchase land if the foreign investors represent 
countries with which Latvia has entered into international agreements on 
mutual protection of foreign investments. Land can also be purchased by 
companies the controlling share of which is owned by citizens of Latvia. 
 
Foreign investors appear to have fair access to enterprises that are 
eligible for privatization.  In some cases, company managers or 
employees have an inside track for purchasing an enterprise from the 
state, for example, in  privatization of milk processing enterprises, 
blocks of shares were reserved for enterprise employees and dairy 
farmers.  There have been no reports of a serious foreign investor 
having been excluded from a privatization due to the reservation of 
blocks of shares.  On the contrary, foreign investors frequently appear 
to have priority over domestic investors in a privatization when it 
appears that the foreign investor can bring more money to the table.      
 
A2 - Conversion and Transfer Policies 
 
The exchange rate of the lat is determined by market forces with limited 
intervention by the Bank of Latvia.  Starting in February 1993, Bank of 
Latvia policy was aimed at stabilizing the lat at a value of 79.97 
santims (one santim equals 1/100 of a lat) to one SDR.  On September 1, 
1995, the lat was worth roughly $1.95.  Latvia does not restrict the 
import, export, exchange of or payment in foreign or domestic currencies 
inside the country.  The Bank of Latvia has foreign reserves of Ls 231.5 
million; based on these reserves, the Bank of Latvia guarantees full 
convertibility of the lat.  The Bank of Latvia is exercising a policy of 
monetary restraint consistent with International Monetary Fund 
guidelines. 
 
Latvia's laissez faire currency policies have drawn substantial amount 
of foreign currency to the country, apparently from the east. Given the 
success of its foreign exchange policies, the risk that the government 
would limit the convertibility of the lat appears to be very low.   All 
embassy currency exchange transactions are conducted at free market 
exchange rate offered by private commercial banks.  Though the banking 
crisis of summer 1995 put some pressure on the lat, it recovered 
strength by late August. 
 
The larger commercial banks appear to have no problem converting and 
remitting funds out of Latvia. 
 
A3 - Expropriation and Compensation 
 
Since independence, the Latvian government has begun de-nationalizing 
private property seized by Soviet authorities during the occupation.  
The are no cases of expropriation of private property by the Latvian 
government.  Latvian law allows expropriation for compensation under the 
right of eminent domain. 
 
A4 - Dispute Settlement 
 
There are no investment disputes with the Latvian government involving 
either U.S. or other foreign investors in independent Latvia.  Local 
courts are composed of three judges, only one of whom is a professional 
jurist.  Latvia is moving to re-organize its court system according to 
Western standards.  In general, the Latvian judiciary is independent of 
improper government influences. 
 
Latvia is in the process of updating and implementing the pre-war 
commercial code and bankruptcy laws. A law on bank rehabilitation and 
liquidation was approved by the Cabinet of Ministers in July 1995, but 
it is not yet approved by the Parliament. Business activities are 
regulated by the Law on Entrepreneurial Activities and Business 
Operations, which serves as the legal framework for establishing, 
registering, operating and closing a business in Latvia. The current 
bankruptcy law is inadequate for a modern capitalist economy; the new 
law is ... in draft.  
 
Legally-transferable rights to private real property are slowly being 
reestablished as properties are registered in reconstituted land 
registers.  While progress is being made very rapidly, the legal and 
court system at this time (autumn 1995) is not sufficiently developed to 
allow real property or chattels to be collateralized.   
 
A5 - Performance Requirements/Incentives 
 
There are no performance requirements for a foreign investor to 
establish, maintain or expand and investment in Latvia, or any 
incentives thereto. 
 
A6 - Right to Private Ownership and Establishment 
 
Under Latvian law, foreigners may conduct business activity under one of 
three forms of business organization: 
 
     -- the limited liability company ("Sabiedriba ar Ierobezotu 
Atbildibu" or SIA); 
 
     -- the joint stock company ("Akciju Sabiedriba" or AS); and 
 
     -- the representative (branch) office of a foreign company. 
 
Limited liability and joint stock companies are established upon 
registration with the Latvian Enterprise Register and have the rights of 
a juridical person.  (See Section IV for a description of requirements 
for the formation of limited liability and joint stock companies).  
Other full liability forms of business organization are closed to 
foreigners, including sole proprietorships (individually uznemumi), 
partnerships (ligumu sabiedribas, public and religious organization 
enterprises (sabiedrisko/religisko organizaciju uznemumi), companies 
with added liability (sabiedribas ar papildinatu atbildibu), and private 
farms (zemnieku saimniecibas). 
 
Establishment of a foreign bank branch is subject to the approval of the 
Bank of Latvia.  One French bank has already  opened a branch bank in 
Riga; a German bank has opened a representative office.   
 
Private enterprises have competitive equality with public enterprises 
with respect to access to markets and business operations.  
 
A7 - Protection of Property Rights 
 
Legal rights to property are in the process of being restored in Latvia.  
The government of Latvia is committed to attaining a level of protection 
for intellectual property rights comparable to that provided under 
international conventions.  Pursuant to that commitment, the Latvian 
parliament in 1993 passed legislation to protect copyrights, trademarks 
and patents.  Foreign owners may seek redress for violation of their 
intellectual property rights through the Appellation Council at the 
Latvian Patent Office; court action can also be sought in such cases.  
While the legal basis for intellectual property rights has been 
established and some of its enforcement mechanisms are in place, Latvian 
law has not defined penalties for violation of these rights. 
 
In July 1994, President Clinton signed a Trade and Intellectual Property 
Rights agreement with Latvia.  Latvia has been a member of the World 
Intellectual Property Organization since 1992 and a member of  Bern 
Convention since 1995.  
 
Unauthorized reproductions of copyrighted video recordings imported from 
Russia are widely distributed in Latvia.  To halt the use of pirated 
films imported from Russia by private Latvian television stations, the 
Latvian Radio and Television Board on October 27, 1992, adopted a ruling 
under which the license of any domestic television company would be 
revoked if it is unable to show that it has legally acquired the rights 
to the films it broadcasts.  The Board does not apply this ruling to 
signals from the Russian television stations Ostankino and RTR that are 
rebroadcasted directly by Latvian television.  
 
Latvia's intellectual property practices have not had any serious impact 
on U.S. trade outside the film and video industry. 
 
A8 - Regulatory System: Laws and Procedures 
 
Latvia adopted laws on competition and restriction of monopolies in 1991 
and 1993.   Businesses are precluded from manipulating prices or 
quantities of goods offered for sale and may not create artificial 
shortages in order to boost prices.  The Latvian Anti-Monopoly Control 
Committee overseas implementation of the laws.  Companies proposing a 
merger that would result in concentration of more than twenty-five 
percent of the market for a particular good or service must have the 
approval of the Anti-Monopoly Committee.   
 
Latvian banking is regulated by the Bank of Latvia. 
 
 
A9 - Efficient Capital Markets and Portfolio Investment 
 
Government policies do not interfere in the free flow of financial 
resources or the allocation of credit.  In practice, the efficiency of 
credit and equity markets is hampered by the weak underlying legal and 
juridical system. Commercial credit is largely restricted to high-
interest, short-term trade related loans which are in theory available 
to foreigners but in practice are totally unattractive to foreign 
investors with other sources of credit. Banks have become even more 
reluctant to lend domestically in the wake of the 1995 banking crisis. 
 
The underlying weakness of the banking system became apparent in the 
spring and summer of 1995 when the largest commercial bank,  Banka 
Baltija, as well as a number of smaller banks, collapsed. Risky lending 
practices, unsustainable deposit interest payments, insider trading, as 
well as inadequate banking laws and regulations led to the crisis. In an 
effort to prevent further losses to depositors, the Bank of Latvia has 
selected 16 banks  as eligible to collect deposits. These banks should 
form the core of a future, stronger banking system. However, supervision 
and laws must still be tightened. 
 
As of June 30, 1995, the assets of Latvia's five largest commercial 
banks (Parekss-Banka, Latvijas Universala Banka, Rigas Komercbanka, 
Latvijas Krajbanka, and Zemes Banka) totaled 368.203 million lats  
($719.15 million).  Estimates of non-performing assets are not 
available.  
 
The Riga Stock Exchange was re-established on July 25, 1995 with only 
four stocks quoted on the first trading day. In the future, Riga Stock 
Exchange plans to quote securities of neighboring countries. France is 
assisting Latvia in setting up  securities market based on a  
continental European  model.  
 
A10 - Political Violence 
 
There have been no reports of political violence or politically-
motivated damage to property since Latvia re-achieved independence in 
1991.  Civil disturbances are unlikely and there are no signs of any 
nascent insurrection movement.   
 
B - Bilateral Investment Agreements 
 
Latvia has concluded bilateral investment agreements with Denmark, 
Finland, France, Germany, Israel, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, 
Sweden, Switzerland, the Republic of China (Taiwan) and the United 
Kingdom. In the nearest future the agreements with Austria, Canada, The 
Czech Republic, Greece and the United States (signed in January 1995) 
will come into effect.  
 
C - OPIC and Other Investment Insurance Programs 
 
Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) coverage is available for 
U.S. investments in Latvia.  Latvia is a member of the Multilateral 
Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA). 
 
D - Labor 
 
The unemployment rate is officially estimated at about 6.5 percent in 
the first half of 1995.  Skilled and unskilled labor are both available.  
With regard to labor management relations, labor unions with roots in 
the Soviet period are weak and politically discredited.  Latvia has not 
seen any major industrial strikes since re-achieving independence.  The 
Latvian government appears to be attempting to uphold ILO convention 
protecting worker rights.  Labor is not a significant factor in choice 
of technology.  
 
E - Foreign Free-Trade Zones/Free Ports 
 
Latvia currently does not have designated duty-free import zones.   
 
F - Capital Outflow Policy 
 
The Latvian government does not have any policies on the outflow of 
capital.  Large amounts of funds flow freely through Latvia to the West 
from former Soviet countries.   
 
G - Foreign Direct Investment Statistics 
 
The Latvia government has calculated that, as of March 1, 1995, direct 
foreign investment amounted to $360 million.  This statistic is based on 
the registered statutory capital of foreign joint ventures and is 
unreliable.   
 
H - Major Foreign Investors 
 
Major foreign investors in Latvia include the consortium of Cable and 
Wireless (U.K.) and Finnish Telecom, which obtained a 49-percent share 
in the Latvian telecommunications company Lattelekom in return for a 
$160 million investment over 8 years; PolarBEK, a U.S.-Finnish-Latvian 
joint venture which has finished the construction of the 380-room  
Radisson Daugava Hotel in Riga; Kellogg's, which opened a $22 million 
plant to produce breakfast cereals for the Baltic, Russian and Belorus 
markets in November 1993; and the Danish company "House of Prince", 
which has purchased 51 percent of the Riga Tobacco Factory.    
 
Other significant U.S. investors in Latvia include Baltic International 
Airlines USA, Coca-Cola Baltics, ICT Inc., InterSource Inc., Jeld-Wen, 
LatHaag, McDonalds, and Orvestco.  The American Chamber of Commerce in 
Latvia currently has more than seventy members.   
 
 
           CHAPTER VIII.  TRADE & PROJECT FINANCING 
 
With the exception of the State Savings Bank (Krajbanka) system and 
Unibank (currently under privatization), Latvia's commercial banking 
system is completely private.  Since the first private commercial banks 
were established in the late 1980's, banking has grown exponentially in 
Latvia. However, established under very loose banking regulations, those 
banks were not viable. The banking system is still undergoing a shake-
up; we expect to see fewer, but stronger, banks within a year. On March 
30, 1995, assets of Latvian commercial banks totaled 1.053 billion lats 
($2.017 billion). At present, bank services are limited to short-term 
lending, international financial transfers, foreign currency exchange 
transactions, as well as credit and debit card operations. 
 
The Latvian government maintains no controls over the import, export, 
use or exchange of foreign currencies in Latvia.   
 
Medium-term Eximbank financing is available in Latvia for credits that 
are backed by the full faith and credit of the Latvian government, or 
guaranteed by a proven, reputable financial entity. EBRD financing is 
also available for both private and public sector projects.  
 
The Bank of Latvia reports that the following 15 Latvian banks currently 
have correspondent arrangements with U.S. banks:  Rigas Komercbanka, 
Parekss-Banka, Unibank, Zemes Banka, Baltijas Tranzitu Banka, Deutsch-
Lettische Bank, Rietumu Banka,  Latvijas Krajbanka, Multibanka, Ogres 
Komercbanka, Sakaru Banka,  Baltijas Starptautiska Banka, Saules Banka, 
AKO Banka and Latvijas Tirdzniecibas Banka. 
 
IX. Business Travel 
 
Latvia presents some inconveniences, but few real difficulties for the 
seasoned business traveler.  Visas are available from the Latvian 
Embassy in Washington (recommended) or may be obtained upon arrival at 
the Riga airport (valid for only ten days).  A visa to either Estonia or 
Lithuania will also be accepted for entry into Latvia.   
 
Phone, fax and e-mail communications are improving, but can still 
present problems, especially outside Riga. 
 
In Riga, major hotels, a few quality restaurants and some stores accept 
credit cards, but it is still mainly a cash economy.  Mastercard and 
Visa are the most widely accepted; Diners Club and American Express are 
also accepted at the de Rome, Eurolink, Metropole and Radisson hotels 
and some restaurants and service stations.  Budget accommodations, fast-
food restaurants, smaller retail establishments and outdoor markets are 
on a cash-only basis.  A few commercial banks cash traveler's checks or 
provide cash advances against credit cards; service charges are high.  
Latvian currency, the lat, may be easily bought or sold at numerous 
currency exchanges.  Outside Riga, travelers should be prepared to pay 
cash for all expenses.   
 
Latvia is easily reached by air from Western Europe and, with connecting 
flights, from the United States. Travel by car is generally the fastest 
and most convenient mode of transportation within Latvia and between 
Riga and the capital of the other two Baltic states.   
 
There are now numerous restaurants in Riga with first class cuisine and 
service.  Outside Riga, selection and quality of food is much more 
limited. Supply and diversity of imported food, household supplies, 
common medications and personal items are excellent.  Unleaded gas is 
available in Riga and at a number of service stations in the 
countryside;  gasoline contamination is still a problem.   
 
The availability of modern housing is growing, but still quite limited.  
Securing housing up to Western standards entails leasing and renovating 
an apartment to suite tenant needs.  Despite recent improvement, hot 
water may not always be available through municipal district heating 
systems; major apartment renovations should include installation of hot 
water heaters. 
 
Street crime is relatively high in Riga; travelers should take the same 
precautions they would visiting an unfamiliar urban center in the U.S.  
Although drinking water is chlorinated, it is not considered entirely 
safe because the filtering system does not remove viruses.  Boiling 
drinking water is recommended.  Imported spring water is available at 
many stores.  Food contamination is not a serious problem.  
 
Latvian statutory holidays are New Year's Day (January 1), Good Friday, 
Constitution Day (May 1), Midsummer (June 23-24), Proclamation Day 
(November 18), Christmas (December 25-26), and New Year's Eve (December 
31).  
 
Latvian is the official language; most Latvians speak Russian.  English 
is widely used in government and business and is the most popular West 
European language.  German is also encountered, particularly in 
establishments catering to the tourist trade.   
 
 
 
APPENDICES 
 
A. COUNTRY DATA  
 
1. Country Profile  
 
Population:  2,513,500 (July 1, 1995) (1) 
 
Population growth rate in 1994:  -1.42 percent (1) 
 
Religions:  Evangelical Lutheran (19 percent of population) and Roman 
Catholic (19 percent of population), Orthodox (5.8 percent of 
population), Oldbelievers (3.1 percent of population); also Baptist, 
Pentecostal, Adventist, Methodist, Judaism.  2) 
 
Government system:  Parliamentary Democracy.  Latvia re-adopted its 1922 
Constitution (Satversme) on December 10, 1991.  According to the Latvian 
constitution the Saeima (Parliament) approves all Latvian laws and is 
responsible for making strategic decisions on political and economic 
development of the Latvian state.  
 
Languages:  Latvian is the official language; Russian is also spoken by 
most Latvian residents.  English is the most popular West European 
language.  German is also spoken. 
 
Work week:  40 hours. 
 
Footnotes: 
1) Latvian Statistics Committee 
2) Ministry of Justice, Division of the Religious Affairs  
 
2. Domestic Economy 
 
Key Economic Indicators (1) 
 
                                 1994       1995          1996      
Economic Indicator                        (forecast)   (forecast) 
 
Gross Domestic Product  
(Ls million)                     1901.5      2303.6       2659.8 
Real GDP Growth (pct.)            2(2)         -0.7(3      0 (3) 
 
GDP per capita (in Ls)          746.36          n/a          n/a 
Government spending as 
percent of GDP                    40.6         40.0          n/a 
 
Retail Inflation (pct.)           26.3(2)      25.4         20.1 
Unemployment (percent)             6.5          7.0          8.0 
Foreign Exchange 
Reserves  (Ls million)           252.7(2)    219.2(3)        n/a 
Average Exchange Rate 
(USD/Lat)                         1.786      1.905(4)        n/a 
 
Foreign Debt (Ls million)         188.8      257.3         306.6 
 
Footnotes: 
1) Latvian Ministry of Finance 
2) Bank of Latvia  
3) As of August 31, 1995 
4) Nine month data, Latvian Statistics Committee 
 
3.  Trade 
 
3.1 Foreign Trade 
(US$ million) 
 
                                   1994          1995          1996 
                                              (forecast)    (forecast) 
Total Latvian Exports                
(FOB)                            989.7(1)      1,204(2)       1,295(2) 
Total Latvian Imports          1,241.4(1)      1,568(2)       1,679(2) 
(FOB) 
 
U.S. Exports,  
including reexports (FAS)          101(3)         n/a             n/a 
U.S. Imports (customs valuation)    50(3)         n/a             n/a 
 
U.S. share of Latvian         
Imports (percent)                 1.98(1)         n/a             n/a 
 
Foreign Trade Balance           -251.7(1)       -364(2)       -384(2) 
 
Trade Balance with U.S.          -12.6(1)         n/a             n/a 
 
Trade Balance with Latvia's Three 
Leading Partners in 1994: 
 
-- Russia  3)                     13.8(1)          n/a            n/a 
-- German                        -64.3(1)          n/a            n/a 
-- Sweden                        -11.4(1)          n/a            n/a 
 
1) Latvian Statistics Committee 
2) Forecast of the Latvian Ministry of Finance 
3) U.S. Department of Commerce 
4) Oil products, natural gas and electricity are Latvia's main imports 
from Russia.  
 
3.2  Principal U.S. Exports  
Top five exports by 4-digit tariff classification, millions of US$(1)  
 
                                    1993           1994  
--Alcohols, phenols etc.  
halogenated etc. derivatives        1.83           12.78 
--Automatic data process 
machines and units thereof          3.69            7.19 
--Motor cars and other 
  motor vehicles                    12.1            5.57 
--Machine tools working by 
removing metal or other material      0             3.43 
--Alcoholic beverages               3.95            3.17 
 
Footnote: 
1) U.S. Department of Commerce 
 
 
3.4  1994 Latvian Imports of  U.S. Manufactured Goods by Commodity Group 
(Harmonized System, FOB, Ls millions) ( 1) 
 
                                Total       From     U.S.share 
HS Code/commodity                          Import    U.S.(percent) 
33/Beauty and skin preparation   4.17       0.08     1.9 
39/Plastics and articles        14.46       0.2      1.4 
40/Rubber and articles           5.6        0.11     2   
42/Leather and articles          0.59       0.033    5.6 
48/Paper, paperboard            18.2        0.96     5.3 
49/Printing and publishing 
     Industry commodities        2.52       0.03     1.2 
57/Carpets, textile carpets      0.54       0.01     1.8 
61/Knitted wear                  3.23       0.02     0.6 
62/Textile wear                 13.14       0.06     0.5 
63/Other textile articles        1.37       0.05     3.6 
64/Footwear, parts of them       5.76       0.08     1.4 
68/Articles of stone, 
      plaster, cement            2.67       0.02     0.7 
69/Articles of ceramic           3.38       0.008    0.2 
73/Articles of ferrous metals   11.96       0.005    0.04 
84/Machinery and mechanical   
     equipment                  70.23       4.97     7.1 
85/Electrical machinery and 
     equipment                  41.58       1.7      4.1 
86/Railway and tramway  
     coaches                     4.75       0.36     7.6 
87/Vehicles other than  
      railway                   41.52       0.94     2.3 
90/Optical instruments and 
   apparatus (inc. medical)     16.56       2.05     12.4 
95/Toys, sport equipment         2.28       0.1       4.4 
96/Different kinds of   
     finished goods              0.99       0.01      1 
 
Footnote: 
1) source: Latvian Statistics Committee   
 
 
B:  U.S. and Country Contacts 
 
Latvian Government 
 
Latvian Embassy: 4325 17th Street NW, Washington DC 20011,  
tel: (202) 726-8213 or (202) 726-6757, fax: (202) 726-6785 
 
Latvian Development Agency: Maira Vesmane, Client Service, Perses Street 
2, Riga LV-1442, Latvia, tel: (371-2) 288-842, fax: (371-2) 282-524  
 
Latvian Privatization Agency: Selga Laizane, Assistant for Foreign 
Relations, Kr. Valdemara Street 31, Riga LV-1010, Latvia, tel: (371-2) 
322-281; fax: (371) 783-0363 
 
Latvian Customs Department: Talis Kravalis, Director, Kr. Valdemara 
Street 1a, Riga LV-1841, Latvia, tel: (371-2) 323-858; fax: (371-2) 322-
440 
 
Ministry of Agriculture:Margeris Krams, Director for Foreign Relations, 
Republic Square 2, Riga LV-1981, Latvia, tel: (371-2) 320-162 or (371-2) 
327-894; fax: (371) 783-0272 
 
Latvian National Certification Center: H. Jurevica, Director, Klijanu 
Street 7, tel: (371-2) 375 667, (371-2) 375 464  
 
 
Five Largest Latvian Commercial Banks 
 
Parex Bank (Parekss Banka): Aleksandrs Gnedovskis,  Smilsu street 3, 
Riga LV-1050, Latvia, tel: (371-7)  331-970, (371-7) 820-011 
 
Unibank: Dainis Senbergs, Head of Board for International Operations, L. 
Pils street 23, Riga LV-1050, Latvia,  tel: (371-2) 215-585 
 
Riga Commercial Bank (Rigas Kommercbanka): Viola Tribis, Head of Board 
for International Operations, Smilsu street 6, Riga LV-1050, Latvia, 
tel: (371-2) 323-892, fax: (371-2) 323-449 
 
Latvian Savings Bank (Latvijas Krajbanka): Ivars Linde, Vice President, 
Palasta street 1,  Riga LV-1050, tel: (371-2) 210-609 
 
Land Bank (Zemes Banka): Irena Krumane, Head of Foreign Currency 
Operations Department, Republikas square 2, Riga LV-1010, tel: (371-2) 
327-123 or (371-2) 321-713, fax: (371-7) 830-130 
 
Trade Associations, Chambers of Commerce 
 
American Chamber of Commerce in Latvia: J.C. Cole, President, Jauniela 
24, Riga LV-1050, Latvia, tel: (371-2) 215-205, fax: (371) 782-0090 
 
Latvian Chamber of Commerce and Industry: Dzintars Putnis, Director, 
Business Promotion Division, Brivibas Bulvaris 21, Riga, Latvia, tel: 
(371-2) 225-558, fax: (371-2) 332-276  
 
Latvian Banking Association: Arturs Graudins, Vice-President, Stabu 
Street 18, Riga LV-1001, Latvia,  tel: (371-2) 215-650 
 
 
U.S. Embassy Trade Personnel 
 
Constance Phlipot, Economic/Commercial Officer 
Iveta Aizbalte, Economic Assistant 
Jolante Andersone, Agricultural Assistant 
Anna Zisser, Commercial Assistant 
 
7 Raina Blvd, Riga LV-1510, tel: (371-2) 210-005 or (371) 782-0046; fax: 
(371) 782-0047 
 
U.S. Government Contacts 
 
U.S. Department of Commerce: Jay Burgess, Office of Eastern Europe, Room 
3413, Washington D.C. 20230, tel: (202) 482-4915 or 4916, fax: (202) 
482-4505 
 
Export-Import Bank of the U.S.: Michele Davis or Heidi Malhotra, Senior 
Loan Officer, 
International Business Development,  811 Vermont Ave,  N.W., Washington, 
D.C. 20571,  
tel: (202) 565-3913; fax: (202) 566-7524    
 
Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC): Barbara  Brereton, 
Manager, Central/Eastern Europe and Central Asia, Investment 
Development, 1100 New York Avenue,  N.W., Washington D.C. 20527, tel: 
(202) 336-8617, fax: (202) 408-5145 
 
U.S. Trade and Development Agency: Geoffrey Jackson, Regional Director, 
Central, Eastern & Southern Europe, Room 309 SA-16, Washington D.C. 
20523-1602, tel: (702) 875-4357, fax: (703) 875-4009 
 
C: Latvian Trade Fairs and Exhibitions  
 
October - December 1995 
 
 1) Food'95 (Food production, wholesale, retail, equipment for stores) 
Date: October 17-20 
Location: exhibition hall "Latvia" 
 
2) "Hanse'95" (Industrial and investment goods) 
Date: October 18-22 
Location: Riga Sport Manege 
 
3) "Agricultural Equipment'95" (Equipment for agriculture, forestry and 
wood  processing) 
Date: October 19-25 
Location: exhibition complex "Ramava" 
 
4) "Hobby'95" (Leisure time equipment) 
Date: October 27-30 
Location: exhibition hall "Latvia" 
 
5) "Medicine" (Medical and dental equipment, pharmacy) 
Date: October 31 - November 4 
Location: Riga Film Studios 
 
6) "My house, Apartment" (Construction, renovation  and household goods) 
Date: November 8-12 
Location: Riga Film Studios 
 
7) "Bureau'95"  (Equipment for offices and banks) 
Date: November 9-15 
Location: exhibition hall "Latvia"  
 
8) "Invest'95"  (Real estate, banking, insurance,  investment, audit)   
Date: November 21-24 
Location: exhibition hall "Latvia" 
 
9) "Food and Food Processing" (Food stuffs, food processing and 
packaging) 
Date: November 29 - December 3 
Location: Riga Sport Manege 
 
10) "TV and Music" (Audio, video, TV equipment,  recording) 
Date: December 12-16  
Location: Riga Film Studios 
  
1996 
 
1)  "Balttour 96" (tourism) 
Date: February 8-11 
Location:  Riga Film Studio 
Organizer: ALTA 
   
2)  "Computer Equipment" (Computers, software, telecommunications and  
office equipment)  
Date: February 21-24 
Location: Riga Film Studio 
Organizer: Creatio 
 
3)  "Home and Office Interior" (Furniture, interior design) 
Date: February 21-24 
Location: exhibition hall "Latvia" 
Organizer: R.A.S.A. 
 
4)  "Style and Fashion" (Fashion design, cosmetics, textiles, leather) 
Date: March 21-24 
Location: exhibition hall "Latvia" 
Organizer: Creatio 
 
5)  "Office'96 Spring"  (Office and bank equipment) 
Date: April 11-13 
Location: exhibition hall "Latvia" 
Organizer: R.A.S.A. 
 
6)  "Carworld"  Cars, lorries, spare parts and accessories) 
Date: April 11-16 
Location: Skonto Sport Manege 
Organizer: BT 1 
 
7)  "Spring'96" (Agricultural machinery and equipment) 
Date: April 11-17 
Location: exhibition complex "Ramava" 
Organizer: A.M.L. 
 
8)  "My House, Flat and Garden" (Construction, renovation and household 
goods) 
Date: April 24-28 
Location: Skonto Sport Manege  
Organizer: BT 1 
 
9)  "Baltrest" (Sports and tourist goods, leisure equipment) 
Date: May 2-5 
Location: Riga Film Studio 
Organizer: BT 1 
 
10) "School'96-97" (Equipment and materials for education) 
Date: May 9-12 
Location: Riga Film Studio 
Organizer: BT 1 
 
11) "Transport for the Countryside" (Means for transport and machinery 
for farmers) 
Date: August 7-11 
Location: exhibition complex "Ramava" 
Organizer: A.M.L.  
 
12) "Intertextil Balticum" (Textiles, garments, footwear, technologies 
and equipment) 
Date: September 18-21 
Location: Skonto Sport Manege 
Organizer: BT 1 
 
13) "Advertising" (Mass media, education, advertising, publishing, 
photo, video) 
Date: September 18-21 
Location: exhibition hall "Latvia" 
Organizer: Creatio 
 
14) "My House, Flat" 
(Construction, renovation and household goods) 
Date: September 27 - October 1 
Location: Skonto Sport Manege 
Organizer: BT 1 
 
15) "Hobbyexpo'96" 
(Leisure time equipment) 
Date: October 4-7 
Location: exhibition hall "Latvia" 
Organizer: R.A.S.A. 
 
16) "Baltrest - Winter" (Winter sports and tourist goods, leisure 
equipment) 
Date: October 10-12 
Location: "VEF" Culture Palace 
Organizer: BT 1 
 
17) "Office'96 Autumn" (Office and bank equipment) 
Date: October 15-19 
Location: exhibition hall "Latvia" 
Organizer: R.A.S.A. 
 
18) "Electron'96" (Electrical engineering, electronics, audio, video 
equipment) 
Date: October 16-19 
Location: Riga Film Studio 
Organizer: BT 1 
 
19) "Food & Drinks" 
(Food and drinks production, processing, equipment for stores) 
Date: October 23-26 
Location: exhibition hall "Latvia" 
Organizer: Creatio 
 
20) "Agricultural equipment'96" (Equipment for agriculture, forestry and 
wood processing) 
Date: October 24-30 
Location: exhibition complex "Ramava" 
Organizer: A.M.L. 
 
21) "Style and Fashion" (fashion week and exhibition) 
Date: October 30 - November 1 
Location: exhibition hall "Latvia" 
Organizer: Creatio 
 
22) "Stationery" (office and bank equipment) 
Date: December 4-7 
Location: exhibition hall "Latvia" 
Organizer: R.A.S.A. 
 
Companies interested in participating in any of the shows should contact  
trade show organizers (contact information follows below) or Arturs 
Dombrovskis, Director of Exhibition Department, Latvian Chamber of 
Commerce and Industry, 21 Brivibas Blvd., Riga, LV-1849, Latvia, tel: 
(371) 733-3228, tel/fax: (371) 782-0092;  fax: (371) 733-2276;  
e-mail: chamber @ lcc.org.lv 
 
Trade show organizers: 
 
BT 1 Ltd. 
Smerla iela 3-339, Riga, LV-1006, Latvia 
tel: (371-2) 529-918; fax: (371) 782-1493 
 
R.A.S.A. Ltd. 
M. Monetu iela 3, Riga, LV-1901, Latvia 
tel: (371-2) 213-637; fax: (371-2) 212-598 
 
Creatio Ltd. 
P.O. Box 120, Riga, LV-1047, Latvia 
tel: (371-2) 614-750; fax: (371) 786-0006 
 
A.M.L. Ltd. 
Exhibition complex "Ramava", Riga, LV-1076, Latvia 
tel: (371-2) 620-574; fax: (371) 762-0456 
 
Association of Latvian Travel  Agents (ALTA) 
Bruninieku iela 29/31, Riga, LV-1001, Latvia 
tel: (371-2) 275-187; fax: (371) 782-1510  
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