The Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevičius was on a working visit to China from 20 to 26 March. On Monday, 21st of March, the Prime Minister of Lithuania Algirdas Butkevicius arrived to Hong Kong and had a meeting with Lithuanian communities. Later there also was a meeting with the representatives of Lithuanian Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong and with the local business community.
On Tuesday the Prime Minister of Lithuania was a participant in the opening of the stock exchange market in Hong Kong. There after saying a greeting speech he together with the stock exchange market’s chairman Chow Chung – kong beat the gong and opened the morning trade session.
“It is a great honor to be in one of the biggest financial centers of the world. Hong Kong is rightfully described as the place, where the West and the East cross paths. And I do hope, that it will also become a bridge between China’s capital and foreign investment opportunities, which Lithuania provides”, – stated the head of the Lithuanian Government, adding that it is not without reason that a major industrial corporation “China Merchants Group” (which has its headquarters in Hong Kong) has already chosen Lithuania as the starting point for the further expansion to Eastern and Middle European countries.
The chairman of the second biggest stock exchange market in Asia (according to the released amount of shares into the market) Chow Chung – kong said, that there is an increasing amount of Chinese and Hong Kong companies, that are interested in the investment opportunities in Lithuania. A particular interest is in the sphere of logistics because Lithuania has a nonfreezing port of Klaipėda and a perfectly developed railroad infrastructure.
Later that day, Algirdas Butkevicius had a meeting with the current secretary for Commerce and Economic Development in Hong Kong Gregory So Kam – leung and they discussed the cooperation in the commerce, economical and tourism areas.
“Lithuania is interested in developing commerce relations with Hong Kong and it will be as a starting point for Lithuanian business expansion further to China” – said the Lithuanian Prime Minister, listing the most perspective export sections. These sections are the progressive Lithuanian lasers, used for scientific and industrial purposes, biotechnology, furniture and food industry sections.
The secretary Gregory So Kam – leung also noted that he is very eager to come to Lithuania and together with the enterprise delegation get to know more about the investment opportunities in here. The preliminary visit to Lithuania is dated to be this May. What is more, an officer responsible for the economical development in Hong Kong added, that people living in this Special Administrative Region of People’s Republic of China really value good quality food products. That is why, when Lithuania will start to import Lithuanian milk and meat products, they will definitely find a place in the Hong Kong market.
Speaking of tourism, the secretary stated that more and more people living in Hong Kong has taken interest in Baltic countries. That is the reason, why the number of tourists in Lithuania will continue to increase. Last year about ten thousand tourists from China visited Lithuania and one of the biggest attraction for them where the health care centers.
The Prime Minister of Lithuania Algirdas Butkevicius and the Chief Executive of Hong Kong Leung Chun – ying also discussed the questions concerning the bilateral cooperation between Lithuania and China.
“Lithuania is the centre of Europe, that is able to offer an integral transport infrastructure and a qualified labor power. Furthermore, Lithuania is like a gate to the European Union market, – said the Prime Minister of Lithuania.
The head of the Lithuanian Government also noted, that when the safety and quality evaluation procedures are over, Lithuania will soon be able to export Lithuanian beef to Hong Kong.
Algirdas Butkevicius invited the Chief Executives of Hong Kong together with the business and science community to attend a major international conference “Life Sciences Baltic”, which will be held this September in Vilnius.
On Wednesday the head of the Lithuanian Government met with the Chairman of “China Merchants Group” (CMG) Li Jianhong. CMG is one of the largest Chinese state-owned companies, the leader among China’s state port operators. The company also provides services in the fields of banking, securities, insurance and brokerage, fund management and, securities issues, online securities trading services, and acts as a direct investment management services platform. CMG leader Li Jianhong said that Lithuania was becoming a closer partner of China as well as CMG. He said that Hong Kong-based China’s huge industrial corporation chose Lithuania as a base for further expansion into the Central and Eastern European countries. CMG Corporation establishes its representation in Vilnius, and its company engaged in port activities is setting up in Klaipėda. CMG is planning to appoint its representatives to Lithuania in the near future. Li Jianhong said that CMG would develop three types of activities in Lithuania: port-related activities, serving as the hub for shipments from Asia to Europe and backwards, close cooperation with Lithuanian Railways for import and export of goods, and logistic activities related to bilateral trade. “The opening of our business in Lithuania will provide additional possibilities for economic cooperation between Lithuania and China, and the port of Klaipėda will serve us as a gateway to the Baltic Sea”, said the Chairman of CMG.
On Wednesday met with the founder and Executive Chairman of Alibaba Group Holding Limited, Jack Ma, and invited him to establish a centre for logistics and packing in Lithuania.
“I am delighted that Lietuvos paštas (Lithuania Post) has been one of Alibaba‘s partners for three years already and serves as the company’s and China’s e-commerce gateway into Europe”, said the Head of the Government and pointed out that this model of cooperation allowed for an additional flow of the so-called transit e-commerce.
The Prime Minister presented the favourable conditions for investment in our country and noted that there are 5 free trade zones in Lithuania which can offer favourable conditions for investment.
“The business climate in Lithuania is good and according to the World Bank rating we are among the world’s top 20 most business-friendly economies”, pointed out the Head of the Government. The Prime Minister also emphasised the fact that Lithuania has one of the fastest public Internet access in the world which is extremely important to such companies as Alibaba which develop their activities online. The Executive Chairman of Alibaba stated that the company is interested in developing its activities in Eastern Europe. He considers Lithuania as a country with fair business which could open up the market of eurozone and the whole of Europe to Asia. Jack Ma said that the Prime Minister’s offer to establish a centre for logistics in Lithuania is noteworthy, he also promised to consider the invitation of the Head of the Government to visit Lithuania and evaluate such an opportunity.
During the visit in China Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevičius met with Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang, which was the second meeting in less than half a year’s time.
At the meeting the Lithuanian Prime Minister noted that China is the Lithuania’s strategic partner in Asia, and that the Government aims to further develop and deepen the dialogue by finding new business opportunities between the countries, as well as contacts between people.
The Chinese Prime Minister said that he appreciates the personal input of Prime Minister Butkevičius in improving relations between Lithuania and China, and added that the Chinese market needs production of particularly high quality. “We are aware that the Lithuanian production is of particularly high quality”, said Li Keqiang.
At the meeting the Head of the Government emphasised the need to open the Chinese market to the dairy products as soon as possible. “Lithuania is awaiting these certificates, so we expect that the negotiation process and the permit issuance process will be soon completed”, said Prime Minister Butkevičius. Li Keqiang assured that Lithuania will receive the cerfiticates very soon. The next day A.Butkevičius received confirmation that the certificates are being prepared and will be sent to Lithuania next week.
Based on Prime Minister’s office press release.
English translator: Simona Gabartaitė
Editor: Aušrinė Marija Valiulytė, Milda Krasko
Photo of the Prime Minister of Lithuania Algirdas Butkevicius with the Hong Kong exchange market’s Chairman Chow Chung – kong is from cn.mfa.lt