Latvia - Economic sectors

The years following World War II saw a shift in Latvia's major economic activity from agriculture and toward Soviet-style heavy industry. In 1990, agriculture

Country Newspapers Radios TV Sets a Cable subscribers a Mobile Phones a Fax Machines a Personal Computers a Internet Hosts b Internet Users b
1996 1997 1998 1998 1998 1998 1998 1999 1999
Latvia 247 710 492 58.0 68 N/A N/A 50.86 105
United States 215 2,146 847 244.3 256 78.4 458.6 1,508.7 74,100
Russia 105 418 420 78.5 5 0.4 40.6 13.06 2,700
Lithuania 93 513 459 67.5 72 1.7 54.0 30.45 103
a Data are from International Telecommunication Union, World Telecommunication Development Report 1999 and are per 1,000 people.
b Data are from the Internet Software Consortium ( ) and are per 10,000 people.
SOURCE: World Bank. World Development Indicators 2000.

accounted for 20 percent of the GDP while industry comprised almost 43 percent and services—including transportation, communication, and construction—were around 34 percent. The transition toward a market economy, however, has created a definite shift in economic orientation toward the west. By 1998 agriculture contributed only 8 percent of the GDP, while industry contributed 29 percent and services contributed 63 percent. (Employment per sector was last recorded in 1990 at 16 percent in agriculture, 41 percent in industry, and 43 percent in services, but these numbers have likely shifted significantly over the course of the decade.)

In 1993, 33 percent of Latvia's exports were directed toward Western Europe while 48 percent were directed toward the republics of the former Soviet Union. By 1999, exports toward the European Union were at 63 percent while export with the former Soviet Union states was reduced to 12 percent. The export of services has experienced rapid growth—22 percent in the first three-quarters of 2000 alone. These services include information technologies and computer software, international trade banks, and cargo services. As the Latvian economy models itself on the economies of the West, such services will play an even more important role in Latvia's integration into the European Union. These exports have been of great value, providing stability at a moment when external shocks, such as a strengthened dollar and rising oil prices, have hurt the trade balance.

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