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Latvia

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Latvia

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Currency:            Lats   (LVL)
GDP (PPP):          2012
Total                   $19.038 billion
Per capita           $18,140
GDP (nominal)   2012
Total                   $18.188 billion
Per capita           $13,316
Inflation (CPI)    3.4% (2012 July)
Population         2,217,053 (143rd) 2012
Labor force         1.205 million (2009)

Labor force by occupation -agriculture: 12.1%; industry: 25.8%; services: 61.8% (2005 est.)
Latvia is a member of the World Trade Organization (1999) and the European Union (2004).

Since the year 2000 Latvia has had one of the highest (GDP) growth rates in Europe with the GDP reaching 12,2% in 2006. However, the chiefly consumption-driven growth in Latvia resulted in the collapse of the Latvian GDP in late 2008 and early 2009, exacerbated by the global economic crisis and shortage of credit. Latvian economy fell 18% in the first three months of 2009, the biggest fall in the European Union.

Latvia plans to introduce the Euro as the country’s currency but, due to the inflation being above EMU’s guidelines, the government’s official target is now January 1, 2014.

Latvia is part of the Schengen Area and the EU single market.

Privatization in Latvia is almost complete. Virtually all of the previously state-owned small and medium companies have been privatized, leaving only a small number of politically sensitive large state companies. The private sector accounted for nearly 68% of the country’s GDP in 2000.

Foreign investment in Latvia is still modest compared with the levels in north-central Europe. A law expanding the scope for selling land, including to foreigners, was passed in 1997. Representing 10.2% of Latvia’s total foreign direct investment, American companies invested $127 million in 1999. In the same year, the United States exported $58.2 million of goods and services to Latvia and imported $87.9 million. Eager to join Western economic institutions like the World Trade Organization, OECD, and the European Union, Latvia signed a Europe Agreement with the EU in 1995—with a 4-year transition period. Latvia and the United States have signed treaties on investment, trade, and intellectual property protection and avoidance of double taxation.

For centuries  Latvia used its geographic location as an important East-West commercial and trading center. Industry served local markets, while timber, paper and agricultural products were Latvia’s main exports.

Industries: synthetic fibers, agricultural machinery, fertilizers, radios, electronics, pharmaceuticals, processed foods, textiles, timber; note – dependent on imports for energy and raw materials.

Electricity – production by source:
fossil fuel: 29.1%
hydro: 70.9%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0%

Agriculture – products: grain, potatoes, vegetables; beef, milk, eggs,  fish.

Exports   -  $6.721 billion (2010)
Export goods -   wood and wood products, machinery and equipment, metals, textiles, foodstuffs
Main export partners -  Lithuania 18.1%, Estonia 13.6%, Russia 10.6%, Germany 8.3%, Sweden 6.3%, Poland 5.9%, Denmark 3.4%, Finland 3.1%, UK 3.1%, Netherlands 2.3% (2011)

Imports   -  $8.849 billion (2010)
Import goods-   machinery and equipment, chemicals, fuels, vehicles
Main import partners-   Lithuania 16%, Germany 12.8%, Russia 10.6%, Poland 7%, Estonia 7%, Sweden 4.3%, Finland 4.3% (2008).