Lithuania reaffirmed via videoconference yesterday evening its intention to open a trade office in Taiwan this spring, while Taiwan reiterated pledges of US$200 million in investment funds and US$1 billion in credit loans, as the two nations work toward deepening their economic cooperation.
National Development Council (NDC) Minister Kung Ming-hsin (龔明鑫) said that the government and businesses in Taiwan have come up with concrete details and projects to fulfill pledges they made during a delegation’s visit to the European country in October last year.
“Whichever companies from Taiwan and Lithuania are interested in investment projects or joint ventures in Lithuania can apply for the investment funds and credit loans,” Kung said.
The pledge remains valid as long as projects and ventures benefit both sides, Kung said when asked by reporters from Lithuania if there were conditions on funding approval.
Lithuania drew the ire of Beijing after allowing the opening of the Taiwanese Representative Office in Vilnius in November last year, as Beijing considers the use of the word “Taiwanese” a contravention of its “one China” principle.
Taiwan can raise the amounts of the investment fund and credit loans if necessary, Kung said.
The two sides signed six memorandums of understanding last year on cooperation in semiconductor talent, the semiconductor industry, biotechnology, and scientific research and development, among other areas.
Lithuanian Minister of the Economy and Innovation Ausrine Armonaite said that companies in her country are capable of taking part in making 28-nanometer and 40-nanometer chips, while the country’s laser industry is a global leader.
Lithuania would like to tap into the semiconductor industry, in which Taiwanese companies command a technological lead, she said.
The trade office in Taiwan is under administrative review and should be established soon, along with outposts in other parts of the world, she said.
The investment fund would be used in grooming Lithuania’s human resources and manufacturing industries, the minister said, declining to elaborate out of respect for interested corporations.
Armonaite asked for Taiwan’s help with exports because Beijing is punishing her country for its friendly interactions with Taiwan.
Exports account for 70 percent of Lithuania’s GDP, according to World Bank data.
Kung promised to lend a helping hand and said that a trade office in Taiwan would help expand the scope of cooperation.
Lithuanian said its exports to Taiwan totaled 19 million euros (US$21.54 million) in 2020, while imports from Taiwan totaled 66 million euros, less than 1 percent of its foreign trade, which indicates that there is ample room for growth.
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