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about opportunities in the country
Following its recent accession to the euro zone, Latvia continues to be one of the top performing economies of the European Union. As the fastest growing in the single market, the Baltic state has recovered from a deep recession following the GEC, enjoying a healthy growth rate of around 4 per cent in 2013 and 2014, and becoming one of eight EU member states with a national economic output expansion of over 2 per cent.
The potential for economic growth in Latvia starts with decreasing unemployment and a lowering budget deficit, the former dropping from 13.7 per cent in 2013 to 12.3 per cent in 2014, reaching the euro zone average. With a GDP per capita standing at €14,107 of a population counting 2.0 million, the country offers good transport infrastructure and a flexible, low-cost workforce. It has a positive demographic situation and government focus on entrepreneurial activity and R&D, particularly in the services industry.
Joining the EU in 2004, Latvia’s 118 administrative divisions have been divided into five planning regions and four Special Economic Zones offering some of the most favourable tax environments in the Baltic. Key sectors include agriculture and agricultural machinery; electronics and electrical engineering; chemicals and pharmaceuticals; food and beverage production and processing; textiles and synthetic fibres; timber and wood processing; ICT, IT and SSC/BPO.
Foreign investment in energy and raw materials is a top priority – renewable energy and on- and offshore wind power in particular – while tourism and culture (including film production), education and business services present industries with much opportunity for growth.