After 1992, about 95 % of state-owned companies were privatized. 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 2020, the sector employed about 23 690 people.
Mechanical engineering and metalworking companies represented 21 % of the total exports of EUR 5.4 billion produced by Latvian manufacturing companies in 2020.
The main export partners for about 67 % of the sector’s export share are the EU countries. In 2020, the largest trading partners for the export of Latvian-manufactured machinery and metalworking products were Denmark (14 %), Sweden (13 %), Russia (13 %), and Germany (10 %).
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;
- 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. 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 equipment;
- Excellent logistics infrastructure.
Latvian companies in industry
Database of Latvian exporters
Central Statistical Bureau of Latvia: www.csb.gov.lv
Association of Mechanical Engineering and Metalworking Industries of Latvia: www.masoc.lv