Identify common practices a company needs to be aware of when selling in your market.
Trade Promotion and Advertising
Advertising in Latvia is regulated by the Advertising Law at http://www.vvc.gov.lv/export/sites/default/docs/LRTA/Likumi/Advertising_Law.pdf.
Advertising may be conducted in any print or electronic media. The leading Latvian-language daily newspapers are “Diena” and “Latvijas Avize.” The leading business newspaper is “Dienas Bizness,” published in Latvian. Many Latvians, especially youth, receive much of their information online through Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, as well as from popular online portals like LSM.lv, Delfi.lv, and TVNet.lv. There are also many local and niche newspapers and magazines.
All information about official tenders and laws is published in the Latvian government website, “Latvijas Vestnesis.” The only English-language print media in Latvia is the “Baltic Times.” For information on trade events in Latvia, see the following website of a local trade show organizer:
BT 1 - Leading Trade Fair Organizer in the Baltic States
Customs duties information can be found from the Latvian Integrated Tariff Management System. Each company is free to choose its pricing policy. However, a state anti-monopoly commission (Competition Council) provides oversight to ensure that no cartel agreements are made. The standard value added tax (VAT) rate in Latvia is 21 percent, but for certain goods and services the reduced rate of 12 percent or 5 percent is applied. For detailed information on taxes and fees, please visit website of the State Revenue Service of Latvia.
Sales Service/Customer Support
In most cases, Latvian consumers expect customer service and support within the country (or at least nearby). In retail-oriented sectors, round-the-clock customer support and guaranteed spare parts delivery within 24 hours is preferred.
According to Latvian law, merchandise must have a warranty for a 24-month period beginning from the moment of purchase.
Latvian law guarantees consumers certain rights. Consumer claims are submitted to the Consumer Rights Protection Center.
Local Professional Services
Most professional services can be sourced in Latvia. The quality of service in most cases is comparable to that available in other European countries. The price/cost relationship is market-based. Local service providers focusing on EU law, consulting, and business development can be viewed on the website maintained by the Commercial Service at the U.S. Mission to the European Union.
Principal Business Associations
Latvian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) is the largest voluntary, politically independent non-governmental organization for businesses, uniting micro, small, medium, and large companies from all regions and economic sectors of Latvia.
The Foreign Investors Council in Latvia (FICIL) is a non-governmental organization that brings together the largest companies from various countries and sectors that have made significant investments in Latvia, as well as twelve foreign countries’ chambers of commerce in Latvia.
The American Chamber of Commerce in Latvia is the leading foreign business organization in Latvia. It represents more than 140 companies, including some of the largest international investors in the country.
Limitations on Selling U.S. Products and Services
There are no limitations on selling U.S. products and services in Latvia.
For the acquisition of share capital of a commercial entity that is considered strategically important for national security, the potential acquirer is required to receive approval from the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Latvia. The definition of commercial entities that are considered strategically important for national security includes companies that perform their commercial activity (according to specific requirements provided for in the law) as an electronic communications merchant, electronic mass medium, is licensed in Latvia for transmission, distribution, storage of natural gas, electricity or thermal energy producer, is licensed in Latvia for transmission of electricity and/or thermal energy.