President Dalia Grybauskaitė met with Chinese President Xi Jinping to outline new guidelines for bilateral economic cooperation at the highest political level.
The bilateral meeting took place in Shanghai, where the First China International Import Expo is currently held. As China prepares to open its huge market and ease restrictions on foreign imports, the two presidents focused on the emerging opportunities for Lithuanian businesses to boost their exports to Chinese consumers.
The President underlined that China had to speed up its certification procedures for Lithuanian beef and poultry meat, which were impeded by technical barriers. With China’s rapidly growing economy and increasing middle class, the demand for high quality foods was also rising. Therefore, Lithuanian meat exports to China would benefit both countries.
Lithuanian businesses are interested in expanding export to the billion-strong Chinese market. China is Lithuania’s largest trading partner in Asia. Last year alone, Lithuanian exports to China increased by 50 percent and bilateral trade turnover grew by 20 percent, totaling one billion euros.
Lithuanian companies sell dairy and fish products certified in China: 20 Lithuanian milk producers and 19 fish producers have been issued the required export certificates. Lithuanian-made bread, sauces and dressings, beer, furniture, and textiles are gaining increasingly wider access to the huge Chinese market.
There is much untapped potential in innovation, research, biotechnologies, and electronics. Twelve percent of Lithuanian-made lasers are sold to China, their third biggest export direction.
Speaking to the President of China on behalf of the European Union, Dalia Grybauskaitė also addressed issues relevant to European businesses. According to the President, the EU-China agreement on protecting investments would bring considerable mutual benefit and add impetus to economic cooperation. It would also give better protection for Lithuanian enterprises operating in China.
Even though China has already voiced its plans for a more open economic policy, changes should be put on a faster track. The EU calls on China to intensify the opening-up measures and, firstly, to waive the requirement for foreign companies to invest only through joint ventures with local businesses.
It is also necessary to ensure the protection of intellectual property. Public procurement is yet another field that needs to be opened to foreign investors.
Today’s meeting also addressed issues of global trade. President Dalia Grybauskaitė said that an open multilateral global trading system, built on WTO rules, was in the interest of Lithuania and the entire European Union. Lithuania is an open market economy with a strong focus on exports, and it sees all EU trade agreements with China and other Asian countries as economically beneficial.