RIGA - 2018 was a year of strong growth for the metalworking and mechanical engineering industries as their total output is estimated to have amounted to at least EUR 1.3 billion to EUR 1.4 billion, which is 13 percent to 14 percent more than in 2017, as the Association of Mechanical Engineering and Metalworking Industries of Latvia Council Chairman Vilnis Rantins told LETA.
The industry's exports increased to approximately EUR 1 billion last year, said Rantins. About 80 percent of metalworking and mechanical engineering output is exported, therefore developments on the Latvian market do not affect the industry too much, he added.
"The main reasons for growth last year included normalization of fuel prices and successful development of the automotive industry, as large part of Latvian mechanical engineering and metalworking companies supply their products to the automotive industry," said Rantins.
Exports to Great Britain and the United States have increased substantially over the past several years. The metalworking and mechanical engineering industries export their products to more than 110 countries, and currently the key markets to these industries are Germany, Sweden, Norway, Iceland.
Labor force shortages is the main problem hindering the development of the metalworking and mechanical engineering industries at the moment, Rantins also said.