Enter the country or territory for the information paper you want. (We do not have information papers on all countries.)
New Zealand’s current relationship with Latvia is limited, although to the extent that constraints of size and distance allow, each country is seeking to strengthen bilateral ties. For New Zealand, Latvia is an EU member state that is internationalist and broadly likeminded on a number of issues, with a seat at the EU tables and historical links with Russia. For Latvia, value is seen in diversifying its portfolio of relationships to include small, like-minded non-EU members. Latvia's interest in agriculture also provides points for cooperation.
During the 1940s, a few hundred Latvians settled in New Zealand. The photographer Andris Apse is possibly the best-known Latvian New Zealander. Latvia came to the attention of New Zealanders in 2003 when a party of Latvian climbers died on Mt Cook. The commitment by the NZ authorities to handle this tragedy with efficiency and compassion was widely praised in Latvia.
New Zealand stepped up relations in 2004 with high-level visits by the Speaker and the Minister of Foreign Affairs. Latvia reciprocated with a Speaker’s visit in 2007. Foreign Ministry consultations held in New Zealand in August 2006 and in Riga in December 2008 indicated the value of sharing perspectives on global issues with another small, like-minded country. Furthermore, a Working Holiday Scheme was signed in 2008, with strong uptake by Latvians. Foreign affairs state secretary Andris Teikmanis visited MFAT in November 2012.
Latvia has been an EU member since 2004 and its priorities are focused on achieving equality in the treatment of newer members. Latvia is preparing to join the Eurozone as of 1 January 2014. Latvia supports New Zealand’s aspirations to conclude a treaty level Framework Agreement with the EU.
Latvia's foreign policy priorities include EU and NATO membership and relations with Russia and the United States. Latvia, like New Zealand, has troops in Afghanistan, currently 27.
Two-way trade between New Zealand and Latvia remains low, totalling about NZ$9.5 million for calendar year 2012.
Land Area: 64,589 square kilometres
Population: 2.2 million (2012)
Capital City: Riga
Language: Latvian. Russian is widely understood
Political system: Parliamentary democracy
National government: Parliamentary democracy National government: Centre-right coalition of the Unity alliance, Zatlers' Reform Party and National Allicance
National legislature: Unicameral Parliament, the Saeima, of 100 members
Last election: September 2011 (Parliament) - June 2011 (President)
Next election due: September 2015 (Parliament) - June 2015 (President elected by Saeima)
Head of State: President Andris Bērziņš
Head of Government: Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis (Unity, since 2009)
GDP: US$27 billion
Real GDP growth: 4.5 %
Exports: US$12 billion
Imports: US$16 billion
Main exports: food products, wood and wood products, metals
NZ Exports (FOB): NZ$7 million
Main Exports: Wool, wine, sheepmeat and beef
NZ Imports (CIF): NZ$2.5 million
Main Imports: machinery and parts, plywood, electrical machinery and audio equipment, peat.
Trade ranking:128th largest trade partner
The Safetravel website provides a travel advisory for travellers to Latvia [external link].