In 2010 Latvia timber exports increased by 46%, an increase from 2009 total of LVL 699.329 million to LVL 1.022 billion. Sweden, UK and Germany representing the main bulk of the Latvian timber export market.

Britain has a long standing tradition of exporting Latvian timber right back to 1403 when treaties were signed between the English King Henry IV and the Hanseatic League, an economic alliance of trading cities and their guilds that controlled trade along the coast of Northern Europe from the 13th – 17th centuries.

Baltic timber and hemp were essential shipbuilding materials. Many wars were fought over the control of the Baltic timber trade including most famously the battle of Trafalgar where Napoleon was thwarted by Nelson, despite his many attempts to cut Britain off from trading with Northern Europe.

Shipbuilding no longer requires hemp or large quantities of wood, but the UK trade in Latvian wood remains as healthy as ever. In 1999-2000 reforms were made in the Latvian forestry industry to go from volume-base to value-base. To maintain sustainability of the Latvian forests value-added products, such as kiln-dried timber, became the main focus. To achieve that end Latvian companies have invested in modern technology to produce more labour and skilled intensive joinery and carpentry products.

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