Latvia flag Latvia: Economic and Political Overview

Foreign trade figures of Latvia

Foreign Trade in Figures

The Latvian market is open and competitive, with foreign trade representing 119.4% of GDP in 2020 (World Bank, latest data available). According to the Central Statistical Bureau of Latvia, in the same year exports were comprised mostly of machinery and mechanical appliances (18.9%), wood and related articles (16.5%), prepared foodstuff (9.2%), vegetables (8.8%), and base metals (8.2%). Imports were led by machinery and mechanical appliances (22.5%), chemical products (10.7%), prepared foodstuff (9.6%), and vehicles (9.1%).

With its 530 km-long Baltic coastline on the west, Latvia is bordered by Belarus and Russia to the east, by Estonia to the north and by Lithuania to the south. This geographical position allows the country to function as a bridge between the two major economic areas of the EU and the CIS. At the same time, it also makes the country vulnerable to the external context, as shown during the Russia-Ukraine crisis and the following sanctions towards the Russian Federation. As a result, the volume of trade with Russia now accounts for less than 10% of the total while the EU has the lion share with nearly 70%. In the meantime, the country is also seeking new opportunities beyond Europe, with China and several countries in Central Asia. For 2020, the main partner countries were Lithuania (16.3%), Estonia (11.7%), Russia (8.5%) and Germany (7.2%). The EU is the main origin of the country’s imports (mostly from Lithuania, Germany and Poland, at 17.9%, 10.4% and 10.2%, respectively), with the main non-EU partners being Russia (6.1%) and China (4.2%).

The country has a structural trade deficit (notably due to its energy imports), which stood at 1.2% of GDP in 2020 (World Bank). In the same year, Latvia exported USD 16.2 billion worth of goods, importing USD 18.3 billion (+3.1% and -3.1 year-on-year respectively). Trade in services recorded a surplus, with exports standing at USD 4.9 billion (-19.6% y-o-y) against USD 2.9 billion of imports (-16.6%). Preliminary figures from the National Statistical Office show that in the first ten months of 2021 foreign trade turnover of Latvia at current prices reached EUR 29.35 billion –26% more than in the corresponding period of 2020. The exports value stood at EUR 13.3 billion (+ 22.2%), whereas the imports value comprised EUR 16.05 billion (+29.3 %).

 
Foreign Trade Values 20172018201920202021
Imports of Goods (million USD) 17,03319,68118,95918,36324,447
Exports of Goods (million USD) 14,12616,16615,70516,20120,823
Imports of Services (million USD) 2,9593,5503,5272,9403,622
Exports of Services (million USD) 5,5576,2466,2114,9895,697

Source: World Trade Organisation (WTO) ; Latest available data

Foreign Trade Indicators 20162017201820192020
Foreign Trade (in % of GDP) 118.9123.9123.6121.3119.4
Trade Balance (million USD) -2,283-2,770-2,993-2,994-1,677
Trade Balance (Including Service) (million USD) 93-199-264-286389
Imports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) 3.68.66.43.0-3.3
Exports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) 4.06.44.32.1-2.7
Imports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 59.362.362.261.159.1
Exports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 59.661.661.460.260.3

Source: World Bank ; Latest available data

Foreign Trade Forecasts 2022 (e)2023 (e)2024 (e)2025 (e)2026 (e)
Volume of exports of goods and services (Annual % change) -1.83.03.52.62.6
Volume of imports of goods and services (Annual % change) -2.83.83.02.32.3

Source: IMF, World Economic Outlook ; Latest available data

Note: (e) Estimated Data

 
International Economic Cooperation
Latvia is a member of the United Nations, the Council of Europe, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the World Trade Organization, the Council of the Baltic Sea States and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. It has contributed to NATO peacekeeping missions and is taking part at the present time in the international missions to Afghanistan and Irak.
 

Main Partner Countries

Main Customers
(% of Exports)
2021
Lithuania 17.8%
Estonia 10.6%
United Kingdom 7.7%
Germany 7.3%
Sweden 5.5%
See More Countries 51.1%
Main Suppliers
(% of Imports)
2021
Lithuania 17.2%
Germany 10.5%
Poland 9.6%
Estonia 8.9%
China 4.4%
See More Countries 49.4%

Source: Comtrade, 2022. Because of rounding, the sum of the percentages may be smaller/greater than 100%.

 
 

Main Products

19.5 bn USD of products exported in 2021
Wood sawn or chipped lengthwise, sliced or peeled,...Wood sawn or chipped lengthwise, sliced or peeled, whether or not planed, sanded or end-jointed, of a thickness of > 6 mm 7.5%
Telephone sets, incl. telephones for cellular...Telephone sets, incl. telephones for cellular networks or for other wireless networks; other apparatus for the transmission or reception of voice, images or other data, incl. apparatus for communication in a wired or wireless network [such as a local or wide area network]; parts thereof (excl. than transmission or reception apparatus of heading 8443, 8525, 8527 or 8528) 4.4%
Fuel wood, in logs, billets, twigs, faggots or...Fuel wood, in logs, billets, twigs, faggots or similar forms; wood in chips or particles; sawdust and wood waste and scrap, whether or not agglomerated in logs, briquettes, pellets or similar forms 3.2%
Medicaments consisting of mixed or unmixed...Medicaments consisting of mixed or unmixed products for therapeutic or prophylactic uses, put up in measured doses "incl. those in the form of transdermal administration" or in forms or packings for retail sale (excl. goods of heading 3002, 3005 or 3006) 3.1%
Wheat and meslinWheat and meslin 3.1%
See More Products 78.6%
23.1 bn USD of products imported in 2021
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous...Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals (excl. crude); preparations containing >= 70% by weight of petroleum oils or of oils obtained from bituminous minerals, these oils being the basic constituents of the preparations, n.e.s.; waste oils containing mainly petroleum or bituminous minerals 4.1%
Telephone sets, incl. telephones for cellular...Telephone sets, incl. telephones for cellular networks or for other wireless networks; other apparatus for the transmission or reception of voice, images or other data, incl. apparatus for communication in a wired or wireless network [such as a local or wide area network]; parts thereof (excl. than transmission or reception apparatus of heading 8443, 8525, 8527 or 8528) 3.3%
Motor cars and other motor vehicles principally...Motor cars and other motor vehicles principally designed for the transport of persons, incl. station wagons and racing cars (excl. motor vehicles of heading 8702) 3.2%
Medicaments consisting of mixed or unmixed...Medicaments consisting of mixed or unmixed products for therapeutic or prophylactic uses, put up in measured doses "incl. those in the form of transdermal administration" or in forms or packings for retail sale (excl. goods of heading 3002, 3005 or 3006) 3.1%
Powered aircraft "e.g. helicopters and aeroplanes...Powered aircraft "e.g. helicopters and aeroplanes"; spacecraft, incl. satellites, and suborbital and spacecraft launch vehicles 3.1%
See More Products 83.4%

Source: Comtrade, 2022. Because of rounding, the sum of the percentages may be smaller/greater than 100%.

 
 

To go further, check out our service Import Export Flows.

 

Main Services

4.9 bn USD of services exported in 2020
31.90%
25.38%
13.58%
8.90%
8.38%
7.49%
2.73%
0.82%
0.59%
0.21%
0.02%
2.8 bn USD of services imported in 2020
38.40%
28.54%
10.88%
7.02%
5.95%
3.82%
3.00%
1.11%
0.57%
0.49%
0.21%

Source: United Nations Statistics Division, 2022. Because of rounding, the sum of the percentages may be smaller/greater than 100%.

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Latest Update: November 2022

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