Mechanical Engineering and Metalworking Industry

After 1992, about 95 % of state owned companies were privatised. Today, the sector has been restructured to compete in the global marketplace, mostly with export-oriented contract manufacturing activities, increases in productivity, increases in management skills and competitive salary levels. In 2016, the sector employed about 26 000 people.

Of the total amount of Latvian exports, the – EUR 10.4 billion contributed by machinery and mechanical appliances, base metals and base-metal articles, including the manufacturing of miscellaneous metal products, transport vehicles, plastics and rubber, optical instruments and apparatus represented about 37% of Latvian exports in 2016.

Nearly four-fifths of the sector’s total output is exported to approximately 190 countries around the world. The main export partners for about 74 % of the sector’s export share are in EU countries. In 2016, the largest trading partners for the export of Latvian-manufactured machinery and metalworking products were the Baltic States (36%), Russia (8%), Poland (6%) and Germany (6%).

Key sector advantages:

  • Competitive labour skill and cost ratio;
  • Short order delivery time – responsive, flexible SMEs, located close to markets and using modern technologies permit real-time communication and data exchange. Labour strikes or work stoppages are practically non-existent;
  • Computerised and online capabilities – the vast majority of companies in the industry are equipped with computer systems and connected to the internet. The number of companies with their own websites is growing rapidly. The most widely used engineering and design programs are Solid Works, Auto-CAD and Master CAD, but others are also used;
  • Foreign language abilities – language barriers are becoming less and less of an obstacle as the great majority of today’s plant managers are at least trilingual (Latvian, Russian and English). Many managers also possess German or Scandinavian language skills;
  • An educated and well-trained workforce – Latvia’s well established education system allows professional and shop floor staff to compete in today’s global market. Universities and colleges provide engineering, technology and science programmes, while technical and professional schools, certified according to EU standards, educate and train the skilled labour force using the latest technologies in automated and programmable metalworking equipment;
  • Excellent logistics infrastructure.

Latvian companies in industry 
Database of Latvian exporters

Additional information at:
Central Statistical Bureau of Latvia:
Association of Mechanical Engineering and Metalworking Industries of Latvia:
Fact sheet about industry: Metalworking, Machinery and Electronics in Latvia