Economy - overview: In 1999 Latvia, a transitional economy, experienced zero GDP growth as it continued to feel the impact of the August 1998 Russian financial crisis. Latvia officially joined the World Trade Organization (WTrO) in February 1999 - the first Baltic state to join - band was invited at the Helsinki EU Summit in December 1999 to begin accession talks in early 2000. Unemployment reached 9.6% in 1999, up from 9.2% in 1998 and 6.7% in 1997. Privatization of large state-owned utilities, especially the energy sector, faced more delays in 1999, but is expected to accelerate in the next two years. Latvia projects 3.5% GDP growth, 3% inflation, and a 2% fiscal deficit in 2000. Preparing for EU membership by 2003 remains a top foreign policy priority.
Definition: This entry briefly describes the type of economy, including the degree of market orientation, the level of economic development, the most important natural resources, and the unique areas of specialization. It also characterizes major economic events and policy changes in the most recent 12 months and may include a statement about one or two key future macroeconomic trends.
Source: CIA World Factbook - Unless otherwise noted, information in this page is accurate as of April 17, 2000
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