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Survey says: Latvian business exports have fallen 20-30%

The Investment and Development Agency of Latvia (LIAA) surveyed Latvian export businesses, and results show that on average turnover has decreased by 20-30% during the state of emergency associated with the Covid-19 novel coronavirus pandemic, LIAA Director Kaspars Rožkalns said on April 22.

LIAA will continue to survey businesses once a week to keep track of the situation. Tourism continues to be the hardest-hit industry, while less affected industries include construction, IT and pharmaceuticals, which is experiencing logistical issues.

“Businesses have also indicated that public procurements should be conducted to stabilize the situation, so they can apply. And those industries that basically haven't participated in such procurements, those players can mobilize and provide their solutions to stabilize the economy,” said Rožkalns.

LIAA has also begun operating a crisis helpline that receives around 200 calls per day from businesses asking about available support and programs - what's available from the State Revenue Service (VID), what's available from the ALTUM development finance institution and how LIAA can help.

“If a company has conducted export, and that export is no longer accessible, we try to select a local partner that has imported a similar product,” said the director.

Despite the crisis, LIAA hasn't seen a decrease in applications to business incubators, which means that the system is working well. 74 out of the 211 companies have been selected in the latest application round.

The textile industry has also suffered, but LIAA has already conducted an online “webinar” on manufacturing personal protective equipment (PPE), which is in high demand both locally and internationally. The seminar gave an overview of what's needed, who's buying, what certification is necessary and where they can get support when it comes to production of surgical masks. The next webinar will cover hygienic masks.

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