Latvia is one of three Baltic countries. In the last few years before the pandemic outbreak, Latvia showed stable economic growth averaging 3.3%, above the EU average. However, the Covid-19 has not escaped Latvia’s attention – in 2020, the economy shrank by 3.6%.
Latvia has a small domestic market (1.9 million inhabitants) , its economy is open and export-oriented. The country has a well-developed IT sector and a wood-processing industry, and its main export partners are the neighbouring countries of Lithuania and Estonia. Before the war, Russia was also a relevant trading partner. Germany and Great Britain are other important export destinations.
Despite the small market, there are niches for Swiss companies. By 2017, 12 projects worth a total of CHF 60 million had been implemented in Latvia as part of Switzerland’s enlargement contribution to the new EU member states. The next Swiss contribution, scheduled for 2022, is currently under negotiation.
Swiss-Latvian trade in goods is relatively small. According to the Federal Customs Administration’s calculations, Swiss exports to Latvia shrank by 2.9% to CHF 129.79 million in 2020, compared to CHF 133.67 million in 2019. The main categories were pharmaceutical products and machinery (electrical and non-electrical).
Switzerland’s imports from Latvia continue to increase, by 7.5% – from CHF 55.66 million in 2019 to CHF 59.83 million in 2020. The main categories include electrical machinery, vehicles and wood. Overall, the surplus in the Swiss trade balance reached CHF 69.96 million in 2020.