In an interview with Mr. Karolis Zemaitis, Lithuania’s Vice-Minister of Economy and Innovation during the UAE Media Delegation at his office in Vilnius, he is looking forward to expanding the bilateral coverage and highlighting the importance of the country to the UAE and vice versa for Lithuanians to discover the UAE and the region.
Lithuania is a small but highly developed European country. It has a less population yet a big economy. According to Mr. Karolis Zemaitis, Lithuania has a population of 3 million people but a market of 500 million in the European Union, which means the country has a relatively small bureaucracy and small bureaucratic mechanism but can access the large market of the European Union.
The country offers free economic zones around the country for investors. Also, the green corridor initiative sought to establish one huge economic zone in which investors might pay no taxes for the next 20 years if they invested a specific amount of capital and hired a certain volume of the workforce. Also, he mentioned how they strongly support businesses of all sizes by providing designated agencies to cater to and help them expand their business locally and internationally.
In addition, Mr. Karolis Zemaitis emphasized that 90% of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) is from exports, which explains why the Emirates and the entire Gulf region are interested in Lithuania. When asked about trade relations, he said there is significant growth. “Relating to the imports from the Emirates to Lithuania, machinery continues to be the most important component. On the other hand, Lithuanian goods going to the Emirates, furniture, and electrical machines plays a dominant part. He added, “The Lithuanian economy has been expanding dramatically in recent years for more high-value goods and services, exported both ways. I believe this is where the potential lies for Emirates to use Lithuania as a springboard to the Lithuanian market.”
Lithuania’s Vice-Minister of Economy and Innovation highlighted that UAE is one of their priority countries. He said, “We will put more effort into the UAE because first, and have an embassy there to support and do the needful. With our future projects, we will guarantee to give more focus to the UAE than other countries. I believe Emirates is one of the key countries in the region.”
Also, he expresses how eager they are to create awareness and the country to be widely acknowledged and known. He stated, “Being present all over the world is very crucial for us. Promoting our country will be a lot of work for us, and we are already working on it through the embassy and attache networks, which are putting in a lot of effort.” He added that it is also essential for other countries to see and visit their place to discover firsthand the fantastic culture, natural resources, and all they have to offer. He said, “Lithuania has 700 years of unique Muslim history, not to mention the awe-inspiring nature and environment that most people around the world and in the Emirates are not aware of, as well as, remarkable mosques worthy of a visit. Hence this is something that we must raise awareness about. Getting to know each other, getting businesses together, and getting societies together, are the aspects we focus on the most.”
Mr. Karolis Zemaitis, Vice-Minister of Economy and Innovation of Lithuania expresses his excitement to visit the UAE in the second half of the year, with no specific date yet announced, and looking forward to discussing how to increase trade in the Emirates and Lithuania. Topics may also include the discussion to expand and market the field of ICT, life sciences, smart engineering, agriculture, and the tourism sector.