Pm: Lithua­nia should over­come Latvia in com­pe­ti­tion bat­tle for Chi­nese in­vest­ments

The Baltic Times - - LITHUANIAN NEWS - BNS/TBT Staff

Lithua­nia should over­come Latvia in the com­pe­ti­tion bat­tle for Chi­nese com­pa­nies’ in­vest­ments in the trans­port and lo­gis­tics sec­tor, Lithua­nia’s Prime Min­is­ter Saulius Skver­nelis said af­ter meet­ing with China’s Par­lia­men­tary Speaker Zhang De­jiang in Vil­nius on Fri­day, April 14.

“The Klaipeda sea­port is cer­tainly the fastest-grow­ing port in the Baltic Sea re­gion, it is an ice-free port, and when it comes to the am­bi­tious project, which the gov­ern­ment’s Strate­gic Com­mit­tee gave a green light to for sea­port ex­pan­sion and con­struc­tion of an ex­ter­nal sea­port, if com­pleted, com­pe­ti­tion from our brothers (Latvia) will be al­most out of the ques­tion,” Skver­nelis em­pha­sised.

In his words, the meet­ing mainly ad­dressed the co­op­er­a­tion pos­si­bil­i­ties in the trans­port and lo­gis­tics sec­tor, which were the top in­ter­est of the Chi­nese del­e­ga­tion.

Lithua­nia has been work­ing for years to at­tract Chi­nese in­vest­ments, how­ever, the coun­try’s com­pa­nies are cau­tious about en­ter­ing the Lithua­nian mar­ket. Asked about the rea­sons be­hind this, Skver­nelis said the wari­ness was mu­tual.

“We should prob­a­bly speak about mu­tual cau­tion, as apart from the pos­i­tive eco­nomic is­sues, we should speak about the po­lit­i­cal sit­u­a­tion and the po­lit­i­cal sys­tem in China. It is a rather spe­cific coun­try and we should keep this in mind, when it comes to their in­vest­ments,” said the prime min­is­ter.

In March of 2016, China Mer­chants Group’s CEO Li Jian­hongu stated that Lithua­nia was be­com­ing an in­creas­ingly close part­ner. In his words, the Hong Kong­based com­pany had cho­sen Lithua­nia as the hub for fur­ther ex­pan­sion to Cen­tral and Eastern Europe. The group in­tended to set up two sub­sidiaries in Vil­nius and Klaipeda, as well as con­trib­ute to the con­struc­tion of the deep­wa­ter har­bor in Klaipeda.

Li­etu­vos Gelezinke­liai (Lithua­nian Rail­ways, LG) is also in­ter­ested in con­tacts with the com­pany, amid its ef­forts to at­tract cargo from an in­dus­trial park be­ing built in Be­larus by the Chi­nese com­pany.

China is the sec­ond-largest world econ­omy, grow­ing by more than 6 per cent last year, with a sim­i­lar pace of de­vel­op­ment pro­jected for 2017, as well.

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