The 100th Anniversary of Latvia’s Customs and the 25th Anniversary of Customs Education are Celebrated with an International Conference


On November 7, 2019, the State Revenue Service (SRS) and Riga Technical University (RTU) organized a conference “Shaping a Smarter Future of Customs” to celebrate the centenary of Latvia’s Customs Service and the 25th anniversary of customs education. It brought together industry experts from all over the world to discuss current issues relevant to customs development.

The role of customs in the world is changing, with security playing an increasingly important role alongside the function of fiscal and legal facilitation of international trade, affecting both customs and customs clients. Therefore, the conference focused on the role of customs in ensuring security and innovation in customs control. Ricardo Treviño, Deputy Secretary-General of the World Customs Organization (WCO), shared his vision on how customs service is adapting to new threats and opportunities, while Ilze Kuniga, Head of the Customs Policy Unit (TAXUD.A.1), Directorate-General for Taxation and Customs Union of the European Commission, spoke about the European Commission’s vision for innovation and its role in customs work. The future of Latvia’s Customs was described by Raimonds Zukuls, SRS Deputy Director General in the Field of Customs, Director of the National Customs Board.

Speaking about the development of Latvia’s Customs, Raimonds Zukuls, SRS Deputy Director General in the Field of Customs, Director of the National Customs Board, emphasized: “The paper age, with customs declarations and accompanying documents stored on hundreds of meters of archive shelves, is now in the past. Electronization and automation are a way for the customs to keep up with the speed of movement of goods, while ensuring that restrictions and prohibitions are respected. We have developed state-of-the-art control methods and technologies to protect the EU’s external border and society. The work of customs officers was and will be interesting, responsible, dynamic and international.

Extensive discussions on development-relevant issues were held with representatives from the US Customs and Border Protection of the US Department of Homeland Security, the Pan-European Network of Customs Practitioners (PEN-CP), the International Association of Port Community Systems,

neighbouring Customs Services, SRS of Latvia, State Police of Latvia, universities and organizations of Australia, Germany, Poland, Switzerland, the Netherlands, the NATO Strategic Communication Center of Excellence, and large companies such as “Latvijas Pasts” and “Microsoft”.

The conference was also attended by many international experts who together with the International Business and Customs Institute (SESMI) of RTU have developed professional standards for customs and a unified customs education system in the world. The demand for well-educated customs officers is increasing because of using sophisticated technical solutions and information systems in customs control. Professor Aivars Vilnis Krastiņš, Director of SESMI, spoke about customs education in Latvia.

He emphasized that high-quality customs education can only exist if the educational institution works closely with the customs, while customs can only get qualified staff in cooperation with the educational institution: “When the winds of changes blow, some build wind catchers, but some – windmills. In the winds of changes, Latvia’s Customs and the customs education system were created from scratch, but today Latvia’s Customs has become one of the most developed and educated in the world and is providing assistance to other countries. RTU SESMI and Latvia’s Customs have jointly built a windmill that works successfully in today’s world.”

This year marks 25 years of customs education in Latvia – in 1994 training of customs officers started at RTU SESMI. RTU is the only educational institution in Latvia with an internationally accredited study program “Administration of Customs and Taxes”, which provides higher education in the field of customs and taxation. The unique study program has been developed in cooperation with the World Customs Organization and the SRS of Latvia.

Latvia’s Customs is celebrating its centenary this year. On December 1, 1919, the Central Customs Office of the State of Latvia was established within the Ministry of Trade and Industry, which started centralized management of the activities of the customs authorities and ensured the formation of the customs structure. The establishment and operation of Latvia’s Customs is economically and politically significant in the context of the independence and history of the Republic of Latvia. In the 1920s, both the structure of the Customs Service and the infrastructure of border crossing and customs control were created to enable the Customs to monitor the movement of goods by land and rail, in ports, post offices, Spilve airport.

Since Latvia’s accession to the European Union, when the role of the Customs in replenishing the Treasury diminished, protection of society has come to the forefront. However, the Customs is also involved in protecting the financial interests of the EU Member States and plays an important role in ensuring that operators who are honest participants in international trade benefit from reliefs defined in the normative acts.






Riga Technical University (RTU) was ranked 54th in the QS Emerging Europe and Central Asia (ECCA) 2020 ranking, moving up three places in a year. The ECCA is a ranking of regional universities in Europe and Central Asia and includes a total of 350 leading universities in the region. The results of the ranking were released on 15 October.

At the regional level, the reputation of RTU among employers, the level of internationalization reaching a high proportion of foreign lecturers and students, and academic reputation are highly rated. Moreover, the evaluation of these indicators has increased compared to the previous year.

Universities are evaluated according to ten criteria – academic reputation, employer reputation, faculty/student ratio, number of academic staff holding a doctoral degree, citation level of scientific publications, number of scientific publications per faculty, number of international academic staff members, number of international students, as well as web impact.

This year, five higher education institutions from Latvia have been included in the ranking: the University of Latvia – ranked 39th, Riga Stradins University – 141th, Latvia University of Agriculture – 174th, Daugavpils University – ranked in the 231–240 group and Transport and Telecommunication Institute – ranked in the 301–350 group. Among higher education institutions in the Baltic States, the University of Tartu has the highest ranking – 5th place.

Lomonosov Moscow State University was ranked 1st; St. Petersburg State University – 2nd, and Novosibirsk State University – 3rd.


RTU Has Achieved the Highest Results So Far in The Eduniversal Ranking

Photo: The Faculty of Engineering Economics and Management of Riga Technical University (RTU) and Riga Business School (RBS) have been included in the 4 palms league of the Eduniversal ranking for the fourth consecutive year; RBS Director Jānis Grēviņš (from left) and Vice-Dean of RTU Faculty of Engineering Economics and Management Inga Lapiņa (in the middle) receive the acknowledgment of being awarded 4 palms.

The Faculty of Engineering Economics and Management (FEEM) of Riga Technical University (RTU) and Riga Business School (RBS) have been ranked high – in the 4 palms league – in the world’s best business school ranking «Eduniversal» for the fourth consecutive year for outstanding academic excellence, outstanding quality and strong international influence in business and management education. The Master study program «Innovations and Entrepreneurship» implemented by the FEEM has been rated the best in Eastern Europe.

The Eduniversal Best Masters Ranking 2019 includes ten out of 12 RTU FEEM and RBS Master study programs, attesting their quality and international competitiveness. The evaluation of all programs has improved compared to the previous year, for example, the program «Total Quality Management» has risen 19 places. It ranks 12th among the top 100 Master study programs in quality management in the world. The program «Administration of Customs and Taxes», which is the first study program accredited by the World Customs Organization, has also received a higher international rating. It ranks 30th best in the world in its field.

Two more study programs implemented by RTU FEEM – «Urban and Regional Engineering Economics» (23rd in Sustainable Development and Environmental Management) and «Entrepreneurship and Management» (36th in Entrepreneurship) – have been included among the top 100 university and business school programs in the world. The program «Civil Construction and Real Estate Management» ranks 18th among the 50 best programs in the world.

Among the 200 best university and business school programs in Eastern Europe, the study programs implemented by RTU FEEM take leading positions, for example, the professional study program «Innovations and Entrepreneurship» is recognized as the best in this field. The program develops creative thinking and the ability to create new values, educates and trains entrepreneurs and executives to work at companies and organizations of all sizes and areas. The programs «Business Finance» and «Organization and Management of International Economic Relations» rank 4th in their respective fields, while the academic study program «Economics» ranks 6th. In turn, the study program implemented by RBS «Master of Business Administration» has been evaluated three times – it ranks 14th in Marketing, 4th in Professional MBA and 15th in Executive MBA among the 200 best Eastern European programs.

The French rating and consulting company SMBG every year assesses 1,000 best universities and business schools in the Eduniversal ranking and it evaluates the top Master study programs and MBA programs in 50 different specializations in 154 countries worldwide. Eduniversal Business Schools Ranking is a league of five palms. The top 4 palms league includes 200 business schools of outstanding standing and considerable international influence, including RTU and RBS. The ranking aims at helping students choose the most appropriate schools in East Asia, Eastern Europe, Africa, Central Asia, Eurasia and the Middle East, Latin America, Oceania, Western Europe and North America.