To explore the Lithuanian market and its business opportunities
Luxembourg official mission
From October 25th to 27th, the Chamber of Commerce of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, in close collaboration with the Ministry of the Economy and the Embassy of Luxembourg in Warsaw, organized an Official Mission to the cities Vilnius and Kaunas in Lithuania.
The Official Mission was led under the patronage of His Royal Highness the Grand Duke of Luxembourg and H.E. Mr. Etienne Schneider, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Economy. The commercial delegation, led by the Chamber of Commerce of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, was composed of 25 companies and organizations with a total of 40 representatives from a variety of sectors.
Not only is Lithuania fully integrated in the EU, but it is among its ten fastest growing economies today. Although being a late adopter of the euro, the accession strengthened the country's engagement to practical and sustainable economic policies. The gross domestic product of the former planned economy is largely based on a service sector reinforced with educated talents and nearly 100% English proficiency amongst young professionals. Its business sector portfolio is rich in diversity: ICT, life sciences, chemicals, textiles, logistics, renewables, laser technologies, furniture, and the wood/paper industry form just the tip of the iceberg. Take logistics for example: the famous Port of Klaipeda remains free of ice during the coldest winters and thus guarantees uninterrupted navigation. This factor and its geographic situation provide Lithuania an unrivalled advantage and strategic importance in conjunction with the New Silk Road, the multinational economic overland and maritime corridor between China and Europe, likely leading to a national investment boom followed by major infrastructure development, as well as to a deepening of the region's existing relations with the easternmost part of Eurasia. Lithuania's digital infrastructure is also developing very well: a worldwide leading broadband speed and one of Europe's highest fibre penetration are amid the key factors leading to Lithuania's quick development (download speeds-particularly in urban areas-are among the fastest on the continent).
The aim of this mission was to explore possible future economic cooperation and business opportunities. The Official Mission to Vilnius and Kaunas granted a great opportunity for Luxembourg companies to establish new business links and get in touch with local key partners they can turn to in order to get assistance and advice regarding access to this region.
To further explore the Lithuanian market and its business opportunities, two parallel and sector specific programs were organized in the fields of Digital Innovation/Fintech and Logistics/Maritime: The program focusing on Digital Innovation and Fintech consisted of company visits at the Vilnius Tech Park (the biggest ICT startup hub in the Baltics & Nordics), BOD Group (manufacturer and distributor of photovoltaic cells and modules), the Kaunas University of Technology and Blaster.lt (Community of Companies and IT specialists). Simultaneously, the Logistics & Maritime programme allowed for visits at Transekspedicija (cargo carriage and logistic services), the Kaunas Intermodal Terminal and the Kaunas Free Economic Zone.
Both programs converged during the First Lithuania - Luxembourg Business Forum in Vilnius on October 26th. The Forum was enhanced by the presence of HRH the Grand Duke of Luxembourg, H.E. the President of Lithuania Mrs. Dalia Grybauskaité, H.E. Mr. Etienne Schneider, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Economy of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, H.E. Mr. Žygimantas Vaiciunas, Minister of Energy of the Republic of Lithuania, Mrs. Giedré Švediené, Executive Director of the Lithuanian Confederation of Industrialists and Mr. Carlo Thelen, Director General of the Chamber of Commerce of Luxembourg.
The Plenary Session was concluded with the signature of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Lithuanian Confederation of Industrialists (Mr. Robertas Dargis, President) and the Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce (Mr. Calro Thelen, Director General).
The plenary session was followed by two expert panels on Digital Innovation/Fintech and Logistics/Maritime:
1) Digital Innovation & Fintech: Luxembourg for Finance (Fintech & Market Intelligence Advisor -Robert Jarvis) presented the Luxembourgish financial center, whereas Luxinnovation (Head of Sector Development: Digital Economy - David Foy) introduced the Lithuanian audience to the hub for information and communication technologies that is Luxembourg. On the Lithuanian side, INFOBALT and the Association of Lithuanian Banks demonstrated that both countries have a lot of similarities (especially in Fintech). Instead of being in competition, Luxembourg could be a perfect place for Lithuanian Fintech startups to grow and prosper.
2) Logistics and Maritime: The Cluster for Logistics Luxembourg (Director - Malik Zeniti) and the Luxembourg Maritime Cluster (Managing Director - Charles Gosselin) joined forces to present Luxembourg's positioning as an intercontinental and multimodal logistics hub in Europe. On the Lithuanian side, LINAVA (the Lithuanian National Road Carriers' Association) and the Port Authorities of Klaipeda, along with a selection of Lithuanian companies, agreed that the two "hubs" should definitely strengthen their ties - be it by road, by the sea (Klaipeda being an important port in the region), or by train. The Lithuanian transport ecosystem is still strongly road-based, and CFL Multimodal could offer them 'hybrid' solutions - especially important in the wake of upcoming EU directives that penalize CO2 consumption.
All in all, the Official Mission provided fresh opportunities to strengthen bilateral business contacts and promote economic cooperation with one of the most entrepreneurial countries in Europe.
Photos : Kestutis Kurienius