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Latvia (2003)

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Latvia 2003 year

Administrative divisions 26 counties (singular - rajons) and 7 municipalities*: Aizkraukles Rajons, Aluksnes Rajons, Balvu Rajons, Bauskas Rajons, Cesu Rajons, Daugavpils*, Daugavpils Rajons, Dobeles Rajons, Gulbenes Rajons, Jekabpils Rajons, Jelgava*, Jelgavas Rajons, Jurmala*, Kraslavas Rajons, Kuldigas Rajons, Liepaja*, Liepajas Rajons, Limbazu Rajons, Ludzas Rajons, Madonas Rajons, Ogres Rajons, Preilu Rajons, Rezekne*, Rezeknes Rajons, Riga*, Rigas Rajons, Saldus Rajons, Talsu Rajons, Tukuma Rajons, Valkas Rajons, Valmieras Rajons, Ventspils*, Ventspils Rajons
Age structure 0-14 years: 15.1% (male 180,976; female 172,988)

15-64 years: 68.9% (male 774,133; female 844,856)

65 years and over: 16% (male 122,850; female 252,981) (2003 est.)
Agriculture - products grain, sugar beets, potatoes, vegetables; beef, pork, milk, eggs; fish
Airports 38 (2002)
Airports - with paved runways total: 22

2,438 to 3,047 m: 7

1,524 to 2,437 m: 2

914 to 1,523 m: 1

under 914 m: 12 (2002)
Airports - with unpaved runways total: 16

2,438 to 3,047 m: 1

1,524 to 2,437 m: 4

914 to 1,523 m: 1

under 914 m: 10 (2002)
Area total: 64,589 sq km

land: 63,589 sq km

water: 1,000 sq km
Area - comparative slightly larger than West Virginia
Background After a brief period of independence between the two World Wars, Latvia was annexed by the USSR in 1940. It reestablished its independence in 1991 following the breakup of the Soviet Union. Although the last Russian troops left in 1994, the status of the Russian minority (some 30% of the population) remains of concern to Moscow. Latvia continues to revamp its economy for eventual integration into various Western European political and economic institutions and was invited to join NATO and the EU in 2002.
Birth rate 8.55 births/1,000 population (2003 est.)
Budget revenues: $2.4 billion

expenditures: $2.6 billion, including capital expenditures of $NA (2002 est.)
Capital Riga
Climate maritime; wet, moderate winters
Coastline 531 km
Constitution the 1991 Constitutional Law, which supplements the 1922 constitution, provides for basic rights and freedoms
Country name conventional long form: Republic of Latvia

conventional short form: Latvia

local long form: Latvijas Republika

local short form: Latvija

former: Latvian Soviet Socialist Republic
Currency Latvian lat (LVL)
Death rate 14.7 deaths/1,000 population (2003 est.)
Debt - external $3.4 billion (2000 est.)
Diplomatic representation from the US chief of mission: Ambassador Brian E. CARLSON

embassy: 7 Raina Boulevard, Riga LV-1510

mailing address: American Embassy Riga, PSC 78, Box Riga, APO AE 09723

telephone: [371] 703-6200

FAX: [371] 781-0047
Diplomatic representation in the US chief of mission: Ambassador Aivis RONIS

chancery: 4325 17th Street NW, Washington, DC 20011

telephone: [1] (202) 726-8213, 8214

FAX: [1] (202) 726-6785
Disputes - international the Russian Duma refuses to ratify boundary delimitation treaty with Latvia; the Latvian Parliament has not ratified its 1998 maritime boundary treaty with Lithuania, primarily due to concerns over oil exploration rights
Economic aid - recipient $96.2 million (1995)
Economy - overview Latvia's transitional economy recovered from the 1998 Russian financial crisis, largely due to the SKELE government's budget stringency and a gradual reorientation of exports toward EU countries, lessening Latvia's trade dependency on Russia. The majority of companies, banks, and real estate have been privatized, although the state still holds sizable stakes in a few large enterprises. Latvia officially joined the World Trade Organization in February 1999. Preparing for EU membership continues as a top foreign policy goal. The current account and internal government deficits remain major concerns, but the government's efforts to increase efficiency in revenue collection may lessen the budget deficit.
Electricity - consumption 6.046 billion kWh (2001)
Electricity - exports 703 million kWh (2001)
Electricity - imports 2.69 billion kWh (2001)
Electricity - production 4.365 billion kWh (2001)
Electricity - production by source fossil fuel: 29.1%

hydro: 70.9%

nuclear: 0%

other: 0% (2001)
Elevation extremes lowest point: Baltic Sea 0 m

highest point: Gaizinkalns 312 m
Environment - current issues Latvia's environment has benefited from a shift to service industries after the country regained independence; the main environmental priorities are improvement of drinking water quality and sewage system, household and hazardous waste management, and reduction of air pollution; in 2001, Latvia closed the EU accession negotiation chapter on environment committing to full enforcement of EU environmental directives by 2010
Environment - international agreements party to: Air Pollution, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands

signed, but not ratified: Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol
Ethnic groups Latvian 57.7%, Russian 29.6%, Belarusian 4.1%, Ukrainian 2.7%, Polish 2.5%, Lithuanian 1.4%, other 2%
Exchange rates lati per US dollar - 0.62 (2002), 0.63 (2001), 0.61 (2000), 0.59 (1999), 0.59 (1998)
Executive branch chief of state: President Vaira VIKE-FREIBERGA (since 8 July 1999)

head of government: Prime Minister Einars REPSE (since 7 November 2002)

cabinet: Council of Ministers nominated by the prime minister and appointed by the Parliament

elections: president reelected by Parliament for a four-year term; election last held 20 June 2003 (next to be held by June 2007); prime minister appointed by the president

election results: Vaira VIKE-FREIBERGA reelected president; parliamentary vote - Vaira VIKE-FREIBERGA 88 of 94 votes cast
Exports 703 million kWh (2001)
Exports $2.3 billion f.o.b. (2002)
Exports 0 cu m (2001 est.)
Exports NA (2001)
Exports - commodities wood and wood products, machinery and equipment, metals, textiles, foodstuffs
Exports - partners UK 21.6%, Sweden 13.1%, Germany 12.5%, US 6.4%, Lithuania 5.9%, Russia 4.6%, Estonia 4.2%, Denmark 4% (2002)
Fiscal year calendar year
Flag description three horizontal bands of maroon (top), white (half-width), and maroon
GDP purchasing power parity - $20.99 billion (2002 est.)
GDP - composition by sector agriculture: 4.5%

industry: 26%

services: 69.5% (2001)
GDP - per capita purchasing power parity - $8,900 (2002 est.)
GDP - real growth rate 6.1% (2002 est.)
Geographic coordinates 57 00 N, 25 00 E
Geography - note most of the country is composed of fertile, low-lying plains, with some hills in the east
Highways total: 73,202 km

paved: 28,256 km

unpaved: 44,946 km (2000)
Household income or consumption by percentage share lowest 10%: 2.9%

highest 10%: 25.9% (1998)
Illicit drugs transshipment point for opiates and cannabis from Central and Southwest Asia to Western Europe and Scandinavia and Latin American cocaine and some synthetics from Western Europe to CIS; money laundering remains a concern despite changes to banking legislation
Imports 2.69 billion kWh (2001)
Imports $3.9 billion f.o.b. (2002)
Imports 1.7 billion cu m (2001 est.)
Imports NA (2001)
Imports - commodities machinery and equipment, chemicals, fuels, vehicles
Imports - partners Germany 17.9%, Russia 15.1%, Finland 6.6%, Lithuania 6.4%, Sweden 5.5%, Italy 4.8%, Estonia 4.8% (2002)
Independence 21 August 1991 (from Soviet Union)
Industrial production growth rate 5.7% (2002 est.)
Industries buses, vans, street and railroad cars, synthetic fibers, agricultural machinery, fertilizers, washing machines, radios, electronics, pharmaceuticals, processed foods, textiles; note - dependent on imports for energy and raw materials
Infant mortality rate total: 14.59 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 16.74 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 12.32 deaths/1,000 live births (2003 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices) 2% (2002 est.)
International organization participation BIS, CBSS, CE, EAPC, EBRD, ECE, EU (applicant), FAO, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICCt, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO (correspondent), ITU, NSG, OAS (observer), OPCW, OSCE, PCA, PFP, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UPU, WCO, WEU (associate partner), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTrO
Internet Service Providers (ISPs) 41 (2001)
Irrigated land 200 sq km

note: land in Latvia is often too wet, and in need of drainage, not irrigation; approximately 16,000 sq km or 85% of agricultural land has been improved by drainage (1998 est.)
Judicial branch Supreme Court (judges' appointments are confirmed by Parliament)
Labor force 1.1 million (2001 est.)
Labor force - by occupation agriculture 15%, industry 25%, services 60% (2000 est.)
Land boundaries total: 1,150 km

border countries: Belarus 141 km, Estonia 339 km, Lithuania 453 km, Russia 217 km
Land use arable land: 29.01%

permanent crops: 0.48%

other: 70.51% (1998 est.)
Languages Latvian (official), Lithuanian, Russian, other
Legal system based on civil law system
Legislative branch unicameral Parliament or Saeima (100 seats; members are elected by direct, popular vote to serve four-year terms)

elections: last held 5 October 2002 (next to be held NA October 2006)

election results: percent of vote by party - New Era 23.9%, PCTVL 18.9%, People's Party 16.7%, ZZS 9.5%, First Party 7.6%, LNNK 5.4%; seats by party - New Era 26, PCTVL 24, People's Party 21, ZZS 12, First Party 10, LNNK 7
Life expectancy at birth total population: 69.31 years

male: 63.46 years

female: 75.45 years (2003 est.)
Literacy definition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 99.8%

male: 99.8%

female: 99.8% (2003 est.)
Location Eastern Europe, bordering the Baltic Sea, between Estonia and Lithuania
Map references Europe
Maritime claims continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation

exclusive economic zone: 200 NM

territorial sea: 12 NM
Merchant marine total: 8 ships (1,000 GRT or over) 52,607 GRT/35,650 DWT

ships by type: cargo 2, petroleum tanker 1, refrigerated cargo 3, roll on/roll off 1, short-sea passenger 1

note: includes some foreign-owned ships registered here as a flag of convenience: Greece 3 (2002 est.)
Military branches Ground Forces, Navy, Air and Air Defense Forces, Border Guard, National Guard
Military expenditures - dollar figure $87 million (FY01)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP 1.2% (FY01)
Military manpower - availability males age 15-49: 592,562 (2003 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service males age 15-49: 465,788 (2003 est.)
Military manpower - military age 18 years of age (2003 est.)
Military manpower - reaching military age annually males: 19,477 (2003 est.)
National holiday Independence Day, 18 November (1918); note - 18 November 1918 is the date of independence from Soviet Russia, 21 August 1991 is the date of independence from the Soviet Union
Nationality noun: Latvian(s)

adjective: Latvian
Natural hazards NA
Natural resources peat, limestone, dolomite, amber, hydropower, wood, arable land
Net migration rate -1.19 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2003 est.)
Pipelines gas 1,097 km; oil 412 km; refined products 421 km (2003)
Political parties and leaders Alliance of the Greens and Farmers Union or ZZS [Augusts BRIGMANIS (Farmer's Union); Indulis EMSIS (Green Party)]; CENTER Political Alliance [Juris CELMINS]; First Party of Latvia [Eriks JEKABSONS]; For Fatherland and Freedom or LNNK [Maris GRINBLATS]; For Human Rights in a United Latvia or PCTVL [Janis JURKANS], a coalition of the People's Harmony Party or TSP, the Latvian Socialist Party or LSP, and the Equal Rights Movement; Freedom Party [Ziedonis CEVERS]; Land of Mara [Irena SAPROVSKA]; Latvian Rebirth Party [Andris RUBINS]; Latvian Social-Democratic Workers Party (Social Democrats) or LSDSP [Juris BOJARS]; Latvia's Way Union or LC [Janis NAGLIS]; Light of Latgale or LG [Rihards EIGIMS]; New Era Party [Einars REPSE]; Our Land Party [Ilmars ANCANS]; Party of Latvians [Aivars GARDA]; People's Party [Andris SKELE]; Progressive Center Party [Inta STAMGUTE]; Russian Party [Mihails GAVRILOVS]; Social Democratic Union or SDS [Egils BALDZENS]; Social Democratic Welfare Party or SLP [Juris ZURAVLOVS]; United Republican Party of Latvia or LARP [Eriks Andrejs SAULUNS, Janis PUKIS, Sarmite JEGERE]
Political pressure groups and leaders NA
Population 2,348,784 (July 2003 est.)
Population below poverty line NA%
Population growth rate -0.73% (2003 est.)
Ports and harbors Liepaja, Riga, Ventspils
Radio broadcast stations AM 8, FM 56, shortwave 1 (1998)
Railways total: 2,347 km

broad gauge: 2,314 km 1.520-m gauge (270 km electrified)

narrow gauge: 33 km 0.750-m gauge (2002)
Religions Lutheran, Roman Catholic, Russian Orthodox
Sex ratio at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female

under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female

15-64 years: 0.92 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.49 male(s)/female

total population: 0.85 male(s)/female (2003 est.)
Suffrage 18 years of age; universal for Latvian citizens
Telephone system general assessment: inadequate, but is being modernized to provide an international capability independent of the Moscow international switch; more facilities are being installed for individual use

domestic: expansion underway in intercity trunk line connections, rural exchanges, and mobile systems; still many unsatisfied subscriber applications

international: international connections are now available via cable and a satellite earth station at Riga, enabling direct connections for most calls (1998)
Telephones - main lines in use 734,693 (2000)
Telephones - mobile cellular 401,263 (2000)
Television broadcast stations 44 (plus 31 repeaters) (1995)
Terrain low plain
Total fertility rate 1.2 children born/woman (2003 est.)
Unemployment rate 7.6% (2001 est.)
Waterways 300 km (perennially navigable)
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