A Guide to Business Etiquette in Latvia

Are you looking to do business in Latvia? These tips will give you the lowdown on how to do so and flourish.


Latvians consider themselves to be pretty trustworthy people. As straight-forward individuals, they want anyone they do business with to be like them. With the slow transition over to a market economy, a lot of state companies got sold to foreign entities or local businesses. During this process, Latvians had a chance to work with outsiders who were brought from the foreign companies to train them.

There were some understandable clashes based upon the different values and attitudes they hold. The Latvians are well-educated people and are not fond of having a foreigner telling them what they need to do in their own country.

Obviously, if a foreign manager understands the basic business environment that they are going into they would be received more positively by the Latvians.

The Corporate Social Responsibility

Today, ecology problems are less severe than they once were. Still, there are many issues that need to be dealt with in Latvia. There is a lot of pollution in the groundwater, and there needs to be a major cleanup where the Russian army once was. The transportation system also needs to be upgraded. The government in Latvia sees that these problems exist, and they are working to solve them by implementing legislation that will produce natural reserves.

The water quality improves but it is still not up to EU requirements.  Water waste has been reduced since 1990. Waste dumping by big companies in rivers has been lessened with new sanctions. In most places, waste management has been improved. Hazardous waste has been significantly lessened compared to how it was during the totalitarian era. However, in all areas of business in Latvia, it’s worth keeping up with the news.


As to punctuality, Latvians are good about it and appreciate when people respect this. If you are early to your appointment, you can spend that time preparing yourself more while you wait.

Giving Gifts

Most business people will not expect a gift at a first meeting, but small gifts are accepted at times when given to business associates. Bring something small from your nation that represents your company or your country. A nice item would be a key holder with a picture of a national monument on it or a plate with something similar. These would all be acceptable as gifts to give.

Professional Dress Code

For business, being clean and tidy are a must. You need to be tidy to make a professional impression. Businessmen should wear a suit and a tie. Women should wear skirts and jackets or trousers. Formal clothing is appreciated at business meetings. The manner in which you dress will show your status. This is why Latvians like to wear high-end clothes, shoes, and jewelry. Women often wear gold jewelry along with potent fragrances.

Because first impressions are crucial, make sure to dress well and be polite. Follow the Latvian etiquette. At the office, you may wear less formal clothing. At small businesses, there is usually not a dress code at all.

Corruption and Bribery

These two things are often used as ways to do business in Latvia as well as other former communist countries. This is why you may need to share presents to make government processes move forward and to reduce the time it takes to get various official papers or legislation passed. The overall score for Latvia in the Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index in recent years has been 49, but today it has improved somewhat.