Approximately 20 Lithuanian companies to participate in trade mission to USA
In early April Baltic Summit is being accompanied by the United States-Baltic Business Forum, which representatives from approximately 20 Lithuanian businesses have left for with a trade mission organised by Enterprise Lithuania. At the forum that took place on 3 of April in Washington DC, special attention was paid to bilateral business relations in the defence sector.
Minister of Economy Virginijus Sinkevičius, who participated in the delegation of President of Lithuania Dalia Grybauskaitė, gave a presentation at the US-Baltic Business Forum on the potential of the Lithuanian defence industry and Lithuania’s investment environment. “Since the very beginning of the restoration of Lithuania’s independence, the US has been Lithuania’s key partner in many areas – the creation of statehood, security, business, science, and so on. In the current geopolitical context, not only political, but also economic cooperation between the United States and the Baltic States is important, and the impact of business relations on the economic security of the countries is currently more important than ever,” says Mr Sinkevičius, the Minister of Economy.
In cooperation with Enterprise Lithuania, the Lithuanian Ministry of Economy is ready to help US companies find reliable business partners in Lithuania, and to help Lithuanian companies discover untapped opportunities in the US defence industry.
“The US-Lithuanian Defence Forum that took place in Vilnius this March revealed huge potential for cooperation between the countries in the defence sector, and this reciprocal visit of Lithuanian companies to the USA that was organised rather quickly is a very good sign for Lithuanian business. The interest of US companies in business partners in Lithuania shows growing confidence in Lithuanian business and the readiness of our businesses to implement high tech application solutions in the US defence industry. We therefore hope that the meetings that Lithuanian businesspeople have with US companies this week will be quite concrete and productive,” says Daina Kleponė, Enterprise Lithuania Managing Director.
According to Ms Kleponė, the US-Lithuanian business relations that have been being developed for over two decades are becoming more intense every year – at least 10 official US-Lithuanian business meetings, trade missions and other events organised by Enterprise Lithuania have taken place this year alone. “We have never had such successful bilateral trade between the US and Lithuania before, and, given the existing potential and interest, the prospects for the future look very optimistic,” says Ms Kleponė.
According to Enterprise Lithuania data, US-Lithuanian bilateral trade reached EUR 1.7 billion last year. The bulk of this was Lithuanian exports to the United States, which, at EUR 1.23 billion, increased by 10.7 per cent last year. Imports of goods from the US are also increasing – last year they reached almost EUR 368 million for a growth of 16 per cent.
According to Enterprise Lithuania analysts, the US market is important for the Lithuanian life sciences, laser, engineering and defence sectors. The high technology products exported to the US in 2017 included armament parts (26 per cent), optical radiation equipment (15.7 per cent), antisera and vaccines (15.3 per cent), lasers (7.5 per cent), telescopic sights (6 per cent), and equipment for the reception, exchange and transmission or reproduction of voice, image or other data (5.5 per cent). The United States is also the most important market for information and communications technology service providers. A total of EUR 191 million were exported to the US in services in 2017, and the volume of service exports jumped 29.5 per cent over the year.
Representatives from the following Lithuanian companies are participating in the Enterprise Lithuania trade mission: Brolis Semiconductors, Polimaster Europe, Cellular Expert, Elsis TS, Addendum Solutions, Vittamed, Thermo Fisher Scientific Baltics, Open Circle Capital, Inta, Baltic Environment, NRD CS, Klaipėdos Nafta, Lietuvos Dujų Tiekimas, Kaunas FEZ, Klaipėda FEZ, Baltic Institute of Advanced Technology, SMK University of Applied Social Sciences.
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According to the overview presented by the analysts of Enterprise Lithuania, the international economic environment has been currently particularly favourable for Lithuanian exporters, thus Lithuanian exports will maintain the growth rates and only internal factors such as a tense situation in the labour market and lack of production capacity will hinder development in foreign markets.
Contribution to the world defence industry is a rather new direction for Lithuanian enterprises. As the defence budgets are recovering worldwide and rivalry among industry players is growing, Lithuanian companies have more global opportunities to establish themselves as suppliers not only for Lithuanian Armed Forces, but also for foreign counterparts. One of the most promising target markets is the US aerospace and defence industry. Prospects for cooperation between Lithuanian and American companies were discussed at the US-Lithuanian defence forum in Vilnius held on March 1 and organized by Enterprise Lithuania and American-Lithuanian Business Council.