Opin­ion: Latvia and Lithua­nia share sim­i­lar sit­u­a­tions with grey econ­omy

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Latvia and Lithua­nia both have the same sit­u­a­tion when it comes to com­bat­ing the grey econ­omy. This is be­cause res­i­dents of­ten jus­tify the ex­is­tence of en­ve­lope wages and other il­le­gal symp­toms, says the head of Lithua­nian Free Mar­ket In­sti­tute Zilv­inas Sile­nas.

Lat­vian Cham­ber for Com­merce and In­dus­try in co­op­er­a­tion with Lat­vian em­bassy in Lithua­nia or­ga­nized an in­for­mal meet­ing with busi­ness­men to dis­cuss at the ‘Latvi­aLithua­nia: com­peti­tors or co­op­er­a­tion part­ners’ sem­i­nar prob­lems and so­lu­tions. Busi­ness rep­re­sen­ta­tives came to the con­clu­sion that the neigh­bour­ing coun­try is an im­por­tant ex­port and im­port part­ner in dif­fer­ent fields. This is why it would ben­e­fit both coun­tries if they agreed on co­op­er­a­tion more of­ten, BNN was told by LCCI rep­re­sen­ta­tives.

Lat­vian am­bas­sador in Lithua­nia Ei­nars Se­ma­nis notes that im­port and ex­port struc­ture be­tween both coun­tries is very sim­i­lar in terms of prod­ucts and vol­umes. This means the mar­ket quickly re­acts and adapts to price changes. Lat­vian In­vest­ment and De­vel­op­ment Agency rep­re­sen­ta­tive in Lithua­nia Je­lena Markune says that de­mand is the high­est in tourism. At the same time, Lat­vian small busi­ness more and more of­ten think about Lithua­nia when mak­ing the first steps to­wards ex­ports. Ri­man­tas Sid­lauskas, di­rec­tor gen­eral of Lithua­nian Cham­ber for Com­merce and In­dus­try, also took part in the sem­i­nar. He told par­tic­i­pants of the sem­i­nar about the role his or­ga­ni­za­tion plays in Lithua­nia and how it can help Lat­vian busi­nesses. Zilv­inas Sile­nas, who is the pres­i­dent of Lithua­nian Free Mar­ket In­sti­tute, em­pha­sized in his pre­sen­ta­tion that Lithua­nia and Latvia both have a sim­i­lar sit­u­a­tion when it comes to grey econ­omy, as res­i­dents of­ten jus­tify the ex­is­tence of en­ve­lope wages and other il­le­gal­i­ties. He noted that it is of­ten said in Lithua­nia that peo­ple do not want to pay taxes be­cause they see no ben­e­fits from do­ing so. He said that it is im­por­tant to ex­plain the role of taxes to so­ci­ety and how taxes are used.

Cer­tus di­rec­tor Dau­nis Auers shared his opin­ion on whether Latvia and Lithua­nia are com­peti­tors or part­ners. He said that com­pe­ti­tion in busi­ness is no­ticed not so much be­tween coun­tries as it is be­tween cities. He men­tioned the ex­am­ple of Riga and Vil­nius, where in­vestors make pos­i­tive or neg­a­tive de­ci­sions based on ex­pe­ri­ence, reg­u­la­tions and op­por­tu­ni­ties. On a na­tional level, com­pe­ti­tion ap­pears in the field of tax pol­i­tics. Based on tax reg­u­la­tions, busi­ness­men make de­ci­sions where to es­tab­lish their busi­nesses. Re­searchers say coun­tries should co­op­er­ate more with one an­other and so­lu­tions to com­pli­cated mat­ters, in­clud­ing the for­ma­tion of joint en­ter­prises. To mo­ti­vate busi­nesses to ex­port more within the Baltic re­gion and else­where in the world, con­struc­tion ma­te­ri­als man­u­fac­turer Sakret coun­cil chair­man and mem­ber of LCCI An­dris Vanags took part in the sem­i­nar with a pre­sen­ta­tion, BNN was told by LCCI rep­re­sen­ta­tives. He told par­tic­i­pants of the sem­i­nar that it is im­por­tant to form lo­cal teams that would reg­u­larly meet with own­ers and other com­pany mem­bers on a regular ba­sis, pro­vid­ing sup­port and rec­om­men­da­tions. «It is even more im­por­tant to form con­tacts with lo­cal or­ga­ni­za­tions and em­bassies to en­sure that co­op­er­a­tion part­ners feel needed and sup­ported,» Vanags said. Dur­ing dis­cus­sions, par­tic­i­pants spoke with busi­ness­men about co­op­er­a­tion mat­ters. Mul­ti­ple in­ter­gov­ern­men­tal projects have been re­al­ized in cul­ture, tourism and other fields. As an ex­am­ple for the re­al­iza­tion of Baltic re­gion projects, par­tic­i­pants of the dis­cus­sion men­tioned Rail Baltica project, in which gov­ern­ments man­aged to reach an agree­ment in or­der to bring to life the big­gest cross-bor­der project in the past decade, LCCI em­pha­sized.

Pan­therMe­dia/SCANPIX

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