There were approximately 104,000 enterprises in Lithuania in early 2017. <br style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: sans-serif, Arial, Verdana, "Trebuchet MS"; font-size: 13px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);" />Every year, the government of Lithuania strives to improve the country’s business environment; as a result, Lithuania regularly moves up in international ratings.
There were 117,398 active enterprises in Estonia in 2016<br style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: sans-serif, Arial, Verdana, "Trebuchet MS"; font-size: 13px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);" />Small enterprises that employ one to nine people make up more than 80% of all enterprises
Companies selling food and beverages make up 50% of the trade industry (1,382 companies with total turnover of EUR 5.21 billion), followed by companies selling household goods, DIY and home improvement companies – 22% (725 companies, turnover of EUR 2.27 billion), companies selling office supplies – 10% (413 companies, turnover of EUR 1.06 billion), clothing and footwear retailers – 5% (394 companies, turnover of EUR 523 million), online stores – 4.8% (267 companies, turnover of EUR 364 million).
The main branches of Latvia’s industrial production are mechanical engineering and metalworking (45%), chemical industry (17%), light industry (19%), electrical engineering (9.9%), printing and publishing (8%), scientific research and production (1.8%).There are 1,261 companies with annual turnover of more than EUR 145,000, their aggregate turnover is EUR 2.81 billion, aggregate profit – EUR 99 million, and the total number of employees – 34,000.
In 2016, Latvia exported EUR 10.332 billion worth of goods to foreign countries, down 0.3% or EUR 30.9 million from 2015, while imports dropped 1.7% or EUR 212.9 million to EUR 12.279 billion. For exporters, last year was full of challenges, considering falling prices for raw materials, the decline of the Russian ruble and the British pound sterling as well as reduction of exports in certain categories of goods related to re-export.
2016 was another record-breaking year for the foreign investment promotion agency Investuok Lietuvoje (Invest Lithuania) as it attracted EUR 144 million in foreign direct investment. Large international companies that started doing business in Lithuania include Intersurgical Company (medical devices for respiratory support, 1,920 employees), Western Union (IT, accounting, 150 employees) and Mars (manufacturing, 750 employees).
Shortly after the economic crisis, exports started to grow at a fast rate and became a driving force of Latvia’s economic growth, but the growth subsided soon and even turned into a slight decrease in 2016. On the whole, last year was negative for Latvia’s foreign trade as export volumes decreased by 0.3% and import volumes contracted a bit more, by 1.7%. Economists were fairly optimistic about prospects for Latvia’s foreign trade growth last year, but this year there are objective conditions for improving these results.
Estonia, seen as an excellent example of a balanced economy, has been stagnating the past several years. Last year was no different, as economic growth was projected at over 2%, but in reality was below 2%. Despite the slow growth, Estonia remains an attractive country, which has been noticed by the World Bank in its annual Doing Business 2017 ranking, as it has jumped up to 12th place amongst 189 countries around the world.
The number of employed persons in Latvia was 895,000 or 61.8% of the population aged 15-74 years in the third quarter of 2016The registered unemployment level was at 9.5% of the economically active population in the third quarter of 2016Unemployment in 2020 is planned at 8.2% (the Finance Ministry projects)
Over the past several years the unemployment level in Lithuania has seen a sharp decline that slowed down in 2015 but picked up the pace again in 2016.
- In regards to the proportion of the sector’s overall turnover, 46% of overall turnover is made up of construction and finishing work, 24% is made up of the sale of construction materials, 17% construction of roads and bridges, 8.6% manufacturing of construction materials, and 5.5% architectural and design services.
Compared to the other Baltic countries, Lithuania posted relatively poor results in regards to foreign trade in 2016, however, this did not hamper Lithuania in registering the strongest economic growth amongst the three Baltic countries.
Shortly after the economic crisis, exports started to grow at a fast rate and became a driving force of Latvia’s economic growth, but the growth subsided soon and even turned into a slight decrease in 2016
2016 was not the most successful year for Latvia’s economy, mostly due to uncertainty in external markets. Even though at the beginning of the year Latvia’s growth figures were projected at around 3%, in reality Latvia’s GDP increased by only 1.6% last year.
Latvia has achieved remarkable economic progress in dealing with the impact of the global financial crisis. Macroeconomic disproportions have been significantly reduced, Latvia’s current account deficit and public finances are stable, and its government debt is among the lowest in the European Union (EU).
Latvian healthcare system is slowly recovering from the crisis, and 2011 and 2012 were the years when health-care funding system changed profoundly as new ways were being sought to transform the budget-funded medicine system into a system that would be fully or partly insurance-based.
Despite the much criticized education reforms and ambitious future goals to develop the education sector, results from reforms have started to gradually bear fruit
With the domestic consumption decrease, export came to be considered the key opportunity for Latvian industry. This since 2009-2010. Manufacturing volume grew 16,8% in 2012, while the growth in export was 43%.
Forest industry export exceeded LVL 1 billion; next challenge – raising productivity
Foreign direct investment in equity, reinvested earnings and other forms of capital has grown rapidly since Latvia regained its independence in 1991 until the rates of growth slowed because of the financial crisis. However, in the first nine months of 2011, the volume of foreign direct investment was almost three times higher than the total foreign direct investments in all of 2010. The lion’s share came from Russia and the CIS, facilitated by changes in the Law on Immigration, which allowed for
Latvia has set ambitious goals: in two years, it will be among the most competitive countries in the world with a favorable business environment and competitive taxes on labor in the Baltic region.
In general, free enterprise and trade, as in other EU countries, characterize the business environment in Estonia.
Estonia’s labour market has recovered quite rapidly from the recent recession in 2011. While the unemployment level is still higher than in the boom years 2006–2007, employment has increased fast mostly due to a bloom in exporting industry.
The export of goods from Lithuania as befits the largest Baltic country, significantly exceeds that of its immediate neighbors and, like its neighbors, has show record high rates of growth.
Latvia’s export of goods in 2011 showed the highest volumes in six years and one of the fastest export growth rates in the European Union (EU) for the second year in a row. Experts compare this to a fast sprint that will get even faster in 2012.