Chemistry, Pharmacy and Biotechnology Industry

Chemical, pharmaceutical and biotechnological industries in Latvia have a long history and continue playing an important role in the today’s economy. The sector’s importance was reaffirmed by the 2009 decision of the Latvian Cabinet of Ministers to include the chemical and pharmaceutical industries in the list of priority sectors essential for the country’s economic development. 

About Latvian Chemistry, Pharmacy and Biotechnology Industry

Thanks to long-standing traditions, Latvia has a strong manufacturing base in fine chemicals and pharmaceuticals, making a wide range of products ranging from petrochemicals and man-made fibres to paints and household chemicals. 

Latvia was the principal location for these sectors in the former Soviet Union, with 25% of new Soviet-era drug technology designed here. One out of every four medical preparations manufactured in the former USSR and intended for the USSR market was actually made in Latvia. 

Currently Latvia’s extensive R&D structures and excellent cooperation between industry and scientific sectors are making their presence felt in research spheres including microbiological synthesis, wood chemistry, virology, the synthesis of physiologically active substances, bioorganic chemistry, molecular biology, genetics, biotechnology, biomechanics and magneto-biology. The design and manufacturing of biotechnological equipment are also well established. Furthermore, Latvia is becoming recognized internationally for its Contract Research Organization (CRO) activities.

The chemical, pharmacy and biotechnology sector has always been among Latvia’s leading manufacturing sectors, being 4th in terms of output (7.5% in 2015), 5th in the number of employees (7% in 2015) and 5th by proportion of exports (76.4% in 2015). Currently, the main chemical manufacturing branches include:

  • Pharmaceuticals, medicines, phytopharmaceuticals
  • Paints and varnishes
  • Chemical compounds and synthetic fibres
  • Household chemicals, cosmetics, perfumes
  • Plastic and rubber products

About Latvia

Accessibility to large markets

Latvia is in a unique geographical and cultural position—as the northern European country it provides a strategic location for business operations targeting developed EU markets and emerging markets of the Eastern neighbours. Latvia is a natural gateway between the US, EU and Asia (especially Russia/CIS).

Skilled and motivated workforce

Representing northern European culture, Latvians have a strong work ethics and they are highly motivated, especially given the effects of the recent global economic crisis.

Developed infrastructure

Latvia offers all the infrastructure and services companies need to operate at levels that meet or exceed European standards.

Information and communications technology

Latvia has one of the fastest telecommunication infrastructures in the world, providing companies seamless connections with customers and partners abroad.

Transport & Logistics


One of Latvia’s main assets providing access to markets is its Maritime links. Latvia has three major ice-free international ports—Riga, Liepaja and Ventspils, that are closely linked into the country’s infrastructure by rail, road and pipeline. Latvia is an active partner of the Baltic Sea Region Programme—an EU-based organization that promotes cooperation and solutions among 11 countries around the Baltic Sea.


To the east, Latvia is one of only three EU countries that have a direct-access border with Russia, making it ideal for east/west trade. The Russian highway M9—the developed road-freight route known as the Baltic Highway—connects Moscow directly with Riga, where it also joins with the Via Baltica highway running north and south between Helsinki and Prague.


The Trans-Siberian railway connects Riga directly with Moscow, with regularly-scheduled, container-block trains. Latvia and Russia share a common railway gauge and an infrastructure base that continues to facilitate growth in the flow of trade. By 2030 it is planned to complete the Rail Baltic—a unique project of an European-gauge railway line connecting the capitals of the Baltic states and Poland, integrating the Baltics in the European rail network.


Riga International Airport (RIX) is the largest airport in the Baltics with direct flights to more than 60 destinations around the world. RIX is also conveniently located directly connecting with major roads including Via Baltica and the Baltic Highway.

Economics & Politics

Macroeconomic and political stability

Latvia is a fully integrated member of all major economic and political structures, including the EU, NATO, WTO, and OECD. Its position in the global market offers investors both opportunity and stability.

Macroeconomic security

In the wake of the economic crisis in 2008, government has reduced expenses, implemented several pro-business reforms and focused policy on being a reliable partner for investors. Latvia’s government took measures that were successful leading country out of the crisis and laying the groundwork for sustained growth.

Political and legal stability

Latvia is a democratic republic that abides by the rule of law. It is fully integrated into the European Union, applying EU laws and regulations within its legal system.

Cost effectiveness

Latvia offers significant cost advantages to investors, including competitive labour force and real estate expenses, as well as competitive tax rates. Coupled with strong productivity in manufacturing and services, Latvia provides investors with a highly cost-effective environment for business, producing compelling returns on investment.


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