Jelgava is located in the Southern part of the Zemgale plain, in the very heart of Latvia, just 40 km from the state’s capital – Riga. Jelgava has an advantageous geographical location. It is at the crossroads of railroads going from North to South and from East to West. The City is encircled by a ring road that connects to highways leading to Riga, Lithuania and further to Western Europe.
The overall area of Jelgava city is 60 sq. km. The population of the city is 58,3 thousand (the city of Riga with the population of 650 thousand is nearby). The city is experienced at auto construction, machine building, wood-processing, food processing.
Jelgava positions itself as an industrial city and many international companies have opened factories here because of Jelgava's location, industrial history and the availability and possibilites to train specialists needed for industry.
Here are some of the latest examples:
- "AKG" - a German manufacturer of coolers and heat exchangers - opened a radiator factory in 2005 supplying such car-makers as "Porsche", "Ferrari", "Bentley", "Volvo", "DaimlerChrysler" etc.
- "Smurfit Kappa" - an Irish paper packaging company - opened a packaging plant in 2007
- "AMO PLANT" - the most recent factory - was opened in 2010. It adapts production vehicles, produces tractors and buses. "AMO PLANT" is a joint venture of Moscow Government, JSC "AMO ZIL", Jelgava City Council and JSC "Ferrus". AMO PLANT shows that Jelgava municipality can supprt a project by becoming a partner in the company. Jelgava City Council took partnership in the company by providing land, and continues to support it by renting and testing the produced buses in the city.
The commercial environment in Latvia is friendly to foreign companies. EU directives are implemented and observed in Latvia to ensure a common market in the EU through free movement of goods, services and labour. Latvia has been a member of the WTO since 1999. Latvia joined the EU and NATO in 2004.
People in Latvia overall have good English and Russian language skills and speaking any of these should make communicating with government or business representatives easy. Many U.S. companies doing business in Latvia rate the business environment among the best in Central and Eastern Europe. The World Bank rates Latvia in the category of "Ease of doing business" as 29th among 181 countries.
For more reasons why you should invest in Latvia see the web page of Latvian Investment and Development Agency.