President of the Republic of Lithuania

Speech of the President of the Republic of Lithuania at the Lithuanian-Japanese Business Forum

2019-10-23

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is a great pleasure for me to open the Lithuanian-Japanese business forum. I appreciate all the efforts by Japan’s business associations Keidanren and JETRO and Enterprise Lithuania in organizing this event. The number of Japanese and Lithuanian companies present is the best evidence of shared interest.

Let me start with a short remark on the rapidity of change in our bilateral relationship. Our countries have been isolated from each other for most of our histories. However, in recent years we were able to make up for the lost time.

Japan was a witness to Lithuania’s ambitious growth as a proud member of the European Union and NATO. Lithuania has always regarded Japan as a unique example of many successful transformations on the road to modernity.

In a globalized world, Lithuania and Japan work together as political and economic partners. Our actions are built on respect for international order based on multilateralism. Our intention is to stay adaptive to the changing environments and succeed. One of our most pressing concerns is the security of energy supply.

Economic relations are one of our undisputable success stories. Last year’s visit by Prime Minister Abe gave strong impetus to our mutually beneficial cooperation. We are already observing the increasing interest of Japanese business companies and financial organizations. Our bilateral trade turnover of goods has skyrocketed since 2010 both in absolute and relative terms.

Japan is now one of Lithuania’s main economic partners in Asia. Considering the size of the Japanese economy and our strong ties, we should have no doubts – there is still room for further growth.

I believe that the new EU-Japan economic partnership agreement will contribute to the further growth of our bilateral trade and investment.

My country is ready to seize new opportunities. Lithuania is an open economy with a transparent and result-oriented business culture and ability to build regional networks. Be it traditional sectors or innovation-driven cross-sectoral developments, Japanese companies should find themselves at home in Lithuania.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Let me assure you that investing in Lithuania is easy and reliable. We can offer both competitive costs and available talent pool.

Speaking about the most promising sectors for Japanese companies in Lithuania, I should mention ICT, life sciences and the manufacturing industry. There is already a productive partnership between our countries in the field of science, technology and innovation.

I am glad that Japan is now one of the most important sales markets for our laser industry that is growing more than 10 percent a year. Another important field for our cooperation is life sciences industry. This sector of Lithuania’s economy is growing 19 percent annually.

In recent years, Lithuania has emerged as a regional fintech hub. Thanks to a fast-track licensing regime, our fintech sector grew 45 percent in 2018. Our regulatory environment has been acknowledged by both start-ups and world-class fintech companies. Lithuania could also become a gateway to Europe for Japanese fintech companies.

In general, we are very serious about preparing for the digital future, ICT and the 5G revolution. I am sure that a memorandum between Lithuanian and Japanese ICT associations Infobalt and JISA shows a clear path to our future cooperation.

In the field of manufacturing, our country is also ready to offer Japanese investors attractive investment packages. In addition to access to the EU market, they would get the full benefit of free economic zones and effective logistics.

Japan is also currently one of the priority markets for Lithuanian export. Our country is interested in long-standing cooperation with Japan in the agri-food sector.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

There are still many more ways for our countries to make use of the mutually beneficial relationship. Today I will have the privilege of witnessing the signing of a memorandum of cooperation between Lithuania and Japan on energy. It will open opportunities for cooperation in important areas, such as LNG, renewables, energy efficiency, and energy storage technologies. We are looking for initiatives and projects to decrease our energy dependence on Russia.

Let me remind you that only recently we had the signing of the EU-Japan Partnership on Sustainable Connectivity and Quality infrastructure agreement. This is the time when our countries can develop new projects in energy and transport infrastructure.

This is the time when our bilateral cooperation in the area of energy is facing a transition from political to practical cooperation. We appreciate Japan’s interest to contribute to greater energy security in the Baltic region. One of such examples is Tokyo’s support for the synchronization of the Baltic States with EU grids. It is a crucial element both in strengthening Lithuania’s energy security and achieving a fully functioning EU energy market.

For successful synchronization, we need to ensure adequate generation capacity and Japan’s companies own an outstanding expertise in gas-fired generation and storage technologies.

Finally, the list of our ambitious projects would not be complete without mentioning another serious challenge. The decommissioning of the Ignalina nuclear power plant offers great business opportunities for international companies. We seek to attract best international expertise for this pioneering project.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am speaking today as a person wishing the best for my country. I am also a person who truly believes in partnerships that are mutually beneficial.

That is why I want to encourage closer economic contacts between Lithuania and Japan. Now is the time to build coalitions together. Now is the time to make our ties stronger and more resilient.

Thank you.

Gitanas Nausėda, President of the Republic of Lithuania

Last updated 2019.10.23 06:54

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