Latvia is now in the spotlight of the European market. And it shouldn’t be less. They have several successful industries and a big amount of foreign investments in sectors such as woodworking, metalworking and mechanical engineering, transport and storage, Information technology (including global business services), green technology, health care, life sciences and food processing. Latvia has a unique geographical and cultural position which provides a strategic location for companies that wish to enter the developed economies of the EU and emerging markets of eastern neighbors. Latvia is a natural gateway between the US, EU and Asia (especially Russia/CIS) which gives the country advantages such as advanced transportation infrastructure, Free trade and external trade and export experience and support.
In order to promote the country as an investment hub and to promote business development through admitting more foreign investment and increasing the competitiveness of Latvian entrepreneurs in both domestic and foreign markets, an agency called the Investment and Development Agency of Latvia (LIAA) was created. The agency was born in 1993 and it is a direct administration institution subordinated to the Minister of Economics of the Republic of Latvia. After 10 years, they agency was reorganized into what it is today, changing its name from the Latvian Development Agency (1993) to the Investment and Development Agency of Latvia in 2003.
In 2004 the LIAA became one of the institutions to manage and implement programs that were designed and supported by the Latvian government. The LIAA gave grants to entrepreneurs to increase their competitiveness and to further increase their revenue and advance in their idea.
As for today, the main purpose of the LIAA is to offer support and assistance when investors, companies or institutions start the process of moving to Latvia or starting operations in this country. The agency also acts as the first point of contact and as a “one-stop-shop” when it comes to helping investors develop tailored solutions to meet their specific needs. Another service that the LIAA provides is a database of Latvian enterprises, which they operate and update on a regular basis, to make it easier for foreign investors or enterprises to find partners, companies, suppliers or service providers for investment projects and for exporting or subcontracting businesses. The Agency also operates a database of different types of real estate suitable for a broad range of investment projects.
LIAA focuses on welcoming foreign investments and giving the people and companies investing in Latvia a starting point by offering a broad range of services that help them start their business venture in the country. The LIAA focuses its efforts in the following topics and activities:
The agency gives accurate information on investment locations and implementation of investment projects giving relevant information on business opportunities and investment incentives throughout the country. It also helps investors identify the best real estate options for manufacturing facilities, offices and land; furthermore, it helps investors establish and develop contacts with Latvian business partners and provides legal assistance when it comes to setting up a business in the country.
The LIAA provides Assistance in finding appropriate Latvian suppliers and increasing their competitiveness by providing information on Latvian exporting companies, export products and services. The agency also helps organize trade seminars and foreign trade missions to Latvia, gives regular consultancy and studies on markets for Latvian companies and provides updated and vital information on workforce availability and skills evaluation
Follow-up and support strategies after the implementation of an investment or sub-contracting project are very important for any country looking to attracts foreign investors. The LIAA does a regular check up to the companies that are going into Latvia because they think that it is not only about bringing and guiding investors, but also about making them feel comfortable and giving them the tools to have a smooth corporate life in the country.
STATE SUPPORT PROGRAMS
The LIAA has a number of state support programs for the development of entrepreneurship and new enterprises in the country. It also gives guidance to entrepreneurs with their business ideas.
INFORMATION ON EU COMMON MARKET
LIAA is in charge of the Enterprise Europe Network Latvia (EEN), which provides the public, specially businesses, with information about European Union policies, legislation, regulations, and trade systems. The EEN also connects business partners within the Enterprise Europe Network with investors in more than 50 countries around the world.
LIAA has a team of representatives around Europe and the countries where Latvia has interests that are in charge of providing information about business opportunities in Latvia, relevant legislation, the taxation system, the national economy and external trade. They also encourage, promote and facilitate cooperation and business relationships between Latvian companies and businesses in the country or region where they are located and assist in identifying potential partners.
For more information on the LIAA visit their webpage www.liaa.gov.lv/en