Latvia - eCommerceLatvia - eCommerce
Electronic commerce (e-commerce) is growing rapidly in Latvia, providing real opportunities for U.S. business. As of May 2018, 86 percent of the country’s total adult population uses the Internet every day. According to recent official data, 46% of the Latvian population made online purchases within the past year. The most common purchases were clothes, shoes and sporting goods, tickets for events, household goods, electronic equipment, and travel and holiday accommodations. Many Latvian companies, including airBaltic and most local banks and insurance companies, have created incentives for customers to use their services exclusively through the Internet.
The EU applies Value Added Tax (VAT) to sales by non-EU based companies of Electronically Supplied Services (ESS) to EU-based non-business customers. U.S. companies that are covered by the rule must collect and submit VAT to EU tax authorities. From 1 January 2015, all supplies of telecommunications, broadcasting, and electronic services are taxable at the place where the customer resides. In the case of businesses this means either the country where it is registered or the country where it has fixed premises receiving the service. In the case of consumers, it is where they are registered, have their permanent address, or usually live.
The European Union’s Digital Single Market Initiative
Creating a Digital Single Market (DSM) is one of the ten priorities of the European Commission (EC). The overall objective is to reduce regulatory and other barriers to trade and to unlock online opportunities in Europe, from e-commerce to e-government. By doing so, the EU hopes to do away with the current fragmented national markets and create one borderless market with harmonized legislation and rules for the benefit of businesses and consumers alike throughout Europe.
The EC set out its vision in its May 6, 2015 DSM Strategy which has been followed by a number of concrete legislative proposals and policy actions. They are broad reaching and include reforming e-commerce sector, VAT, copyright, audio-visual media services, consumer protection, and telecommunications laws. New legislation has already been finalized on portability of online content and geo-blocking. Many DSM proposals are still going through the legislative process. DSM-related legislation will have a broad impact on U.S. companies doing business in Europe. In addition, a new data protection legislation, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) entered into force on 25 May 2018.
Latvia eCommerce Industry Trade Development and Promotion eCommerce