The Foreign Investors Council in Latvia considers Latvia's general development positive but urges the government to focus more on fighting the country's shadow economy, organizing customs authorities and reducing excessive fines for tax violations and delayed construction projects.
Following a meeting with the Latvian government, Monty Akesson, chairman of Latvia's Foreign Investors Council, said that investors were worried that taxation violations may see fines of up to 100 percent or even 200 percent of the unpaid amounts.
Experts are also concerned as to the preparedness of Latvia's customs authorities to work according to new requirements after EU accession in early 2004.
Akesson gave credit to Latvia for anti-corruption programs under way, adding that corruption has been one of the most frequently mentioned problems by investors in Latvia.
The council submitted a total of 66 World Bank recommendations to the government which should be implemented within a year.
Honorary Chairman of the Foreign Investors Council Arvid Grundekjon said that Latvia may become a "fantastic place for investments," and he was pleased to see an understanding reached with the new government on what is needed to improve the investment environment.
This was the sixth top-level meeting between the Latvian government and the Latvian Foreign Investors Council, with the next meeting scheduled for spring next year.