The fundamental principle of the free movement of goods means that goods legally produced in one EU Member State may be brought freely into any other. Laws harmonising technical requirements for goods have been enacted to achieve this. The fundamental principles of the free movement of goods are laid down by the Treaty on the European Union and the corresponding principles have been implemented in national legislation.
The Ministry of Economics monitors how regulations on the free movement of goods are applied and ensures the exchange of information between the European Commission and EU Member States concerning measures taken by Latvia where the free movement principle is not respected or interfered with.
When trading you should comply with several national and EU rules and regulations aimed at ensuring a movement of goods that is of good quality and safe to human health, life and the environment, eliminating risks, promoting trade and protecting consumer interests.
The food sector
Food packaging food content and the maximum permitted proportion of various additives as well as food storage regulations in Latvia are governed by the European Union and national rules and regulations.
The Food and Veterinary Service is responsible for enforcing food quality and storage regulations while the Consumer Rights Protection Centre ensures that packaging conforms to consumer interests.
All activity with food, from harvesting to consumption - primary production, harvesting, pre-processing, processing, handling, production, packaging, storage, distribution, transport, transport abroad, wholesale and retail sale - is governed by the Food Circulation Supervision Law.
The Law on Excise Duties and the related Regulations of the Cabinet of Ministers govern the imposition of excise duties. Excise duties are imposed on the following goods:
- alcoholic beverages;
- tobacco products;
- petroleum products and by-products;
- non-alcoholic beverages and coffee.
Excise duty is paid by importers, tax warehouse keepers, approved traders and non-approved traders, distance sellers or representatives of excise duty payers and persons who import or receive excisable goods from another EU Member State which have been released for free circulation in another EU Member State.
A trader shall pay the tax calculated for excisable goods received in the Republic of Latvia from other Member States during the taxable period within 15 days of the end of the taxable period.
Trade licensing requirements
When commencing trading it is advisable to find out, whether a special licence is needed for the activity of your choice as quite often the way the licence can be obtained and used is governed by several rules and regulations, thus complicating the process of obtaining the licence.
For example, to trade in tobacco, alcoholic beverages and petroleum and its by-products a licence is required acquisition of which is governed by the following legislation:
Respondents are chosen based on the number of employees and net turnover of the company. Large companies with 50 or more employees or annual net turnover that exceeds the maximum prescribed threshold in the relevant sector are surveyed every year. Remaining respondents are chosen at random. For example, each fifth, tenth company in the specific sector.
The statistical survey forms you will receive will contain a label with the first name, surname and phone number of your statistician. You can contact him or her for all queries related to the mailing of forms, completing surveys, adjusting submission deadlines and submission methods (by post, by fax, by e-mail).
Each form contains phone numbers of the help lines (in complex annual surveys the phone numbers are also displayed next to each section). You can also ask your statistician for advice.
Internet users can choose to submit their surveys electronically. To do this, please contact your statistician who will provide you with the user name and password. Where an electronic survey is used, paper survey should not be submitted.
International transport document
International commercial transport licensing in the Republic of Latvia is carried out by the Road Transport Directorate and its executive commission meets once a week. You should apply for the license before your start transporting operations.
A business may defend its rights and interests in court. If there are any disputes between business partners in need of resolution, the process is governed by the Civil Law and the Civil Procedure Law. The court to which the application shall be submitted is governed by the Civil Procedure Law and depends on location and the amount of the claim.
Once judgement is given, a registered bailiff shall be asked to enforce it.
Under current legislation a party to civil litigation may be represented by any person who has reached the age of majority and has been authorised to do so by that party. However, the involvement of a lawyer or advocate in the litigation offers greater peace of mind when it comes to protecting your rights.
In cases where an entrepreneur believes the state has infringed his rights, e.g. his or her tax assessment is excessive, the issue must be addressed in the Administrative Courts. Applications should be lodged with the local Administrative Court.