Latvia has a population of 2 million inhabitants. However, for Finnish SMEs who wish to export to Latvia the most important criteria are proximity and ease of doing business there. There are direct flight connections from Helsinki to Riga in the morning and return flight connections from Riga to Helsinki on the same day in the evening. The currency is conveniently the Euro. The local language is Latvian but language is not a barrier to doing business as English is widely used as the business language in Latvia. Nevertheless, knowledge of some common words or phrases in Latvian would surprisingly help a great deal to break the ice and pave your way to successful business negotiations.
In case companies wish to consider establishing a base in Latvia it is good to know that Latvia offers one of the lowest tax rates in the EU combined with additional tax allowances within the Special Economic Zones and state support programmes. Special Economic Zones (in Liepaja, Ventspils, Riga and Rezekne) which have been specifically set up for business development are amongst the key reasons as to why foreign companies choose to invest in Latvia.
Seppo Hoffrén Consultancy has had a local consultant operating in the Baltics since 1994. The consultant has helped a large number of foreign companies to find clients, distributors, subcontractors and sales leads. In addition, the consultant has also organised seminars and assisted companies in connection with trade shows.