bnn.lv Latviski   bnn-news.com English   bnn-news.ru По-русски
Saturday 23.06.2018 | Name days: Līga
LithuaniaLithuania

Lithuanian PM: Lithuania will hush Latvia in pursuit of Chinese investments

FaceBook
Twitter
Draugiem
print
(No Ratings Yet)

Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RU

Lithuania’s Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis

Linas Jegelevičius for the BNN

Lithuanian Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis must have scratched Latvia‘s ego. «In the competition for Chinese investments, Lithuania should overcome Latvia,» the head of Lithuanian Government declared after meeting Zhang Dejiang, China‘s Parliament Speaker.

Both men focused mostly on collaboration opportunities in the field of transport and logistics during their meeting in Vilnius.

Klaipėda seaport in focus

In PM‘s words, the third officer in the Chinese Communist Party has shown an especial interest for the ice-free Lithuanian Baltic seaport, Klaipėda.

«Klaipėda seaport is a most rapidly growing port in the Baltic Sea region. This has been universally acknowledged. If we manage to successfully carry out the project which aims to expand it to the scope that has been approved by the Government‘s Strategic Committee, then it will be hard for all even to speak about a competition from our little brothers, Latvians…China could haul large amounts of its production through Klaipėda seaport to Western Europe,» Skvernelis shone with confidence.

With some journalists jumping in to remark that Chinese investments have been pretty tepid over not a single recent year, although Lithuania has done much in the pursuit, PM chalked the cautiousness, among other things, up to the «political situation and the political foundation» that China is known for.

«It is rather a specific country, and we have to assess it when talking of their investments,» he underscored.

Efforts are needed, but size matters

According to Skvernelis, it is also very important that Lithuania continues collaborating with Chinese companies in the field of agriculture – supplying Lithuanian goods to them. China has issued permits for a number of Lithuanian dairy companies, which now , PM says, have to «capitalize» on the accomplishment.

However, Sigitas Besagirskas, president of Vilnius Industry and Business Association (VIBA), notes that the steps have been very initial and, note, with some setbacks.

The upbeat Lithuanian premier insisted in the meeting that the trade potential is big, yet Lithuania has to take into account that it is a small country with a limited production capacity.

«As I said, the potential is big, however, our investors and businessmen comprehend the importance of size…We can talk to the Chinese from a perspective of a small market,» PM inferred.

China is the world‘s second-largest economy, which has grown over 6 per cent last year and a similar growth rate is expected this year.

Some has come forward already

Among the large Chinese companies that have shown interest in the Lithuanian seaport, as well as Klaipėda’s Free Economic Zone, is China Merchants Group, which has said it is interested in investing in the port’s expansion and construction of a deep-water port.

The company sees Klaipėda as a hub for its further expansion into Eastern and Central European countries. The national railways, Lietuvos geležinkeliai, has also expressed endeavour to work with the Chinese in attempting to attract cargoes from an industrial park under construction in Belarus.

Unlike Lithuania, Belarus does not have an access to sea, thence Lithuania‘s appetite for Belarusian shipments.

Not Baltics, but Poland and Belarus benefit

However, Sigitas Besagirskas, of VIBA, tends to believe that behind the politicians‘ rosy outlook looms a lot grimmer reality.

«Let‘s face it: Chinese investments in both Baltic countries, as well as in Estonia, are little noticeable and the status quo will remain in the near future,» the expert is convinced.

According to him, China has clearly chosen Poland and Belarus as its business hubs.

«In the latter, for example, it builds a major investment park. When built, it aims to flood the Eurasian union countries as well as the Baltic States with cheap Chinese goods. The three Baltic States cannot boast of any major Chinese investment meanwhile,» the analyst told BNN. «We are just too tiny for China.»

Poland, he claims, has the advantage of not only a larger population, but also the availability of niche markets and the required workforce for them.

«I frankly do not see China coming with an attention-worth investment any time soon,» Besagirskas concluded. «Meanwhile, Belarus can offer thrice cheaper workforce than the three Baltic States, so, again, ourchances in the regard are slim.»

Expert: Lithuania is no better than Latvia

And what about the Lithuanian PM cheery striving to take over China‘s investments in Latvia?

«I don‘t think it is very simple to redirect them from Latvia, or anywhere else, to Lithuania. Both Lithuania and Latvia are in a similar situation, investment-wise, with none having an advantage over the other,» claimed Besagirskas.

Yet it is Latvia, who some analysts believe, can see a major breakthrough with Chinese investments if China will follow up on its intention to extend its Belt and Road Initiative, a super-ambitious railway project, westward, possibly to Latvia, too.

Far-reaching Chinese railway endeavours

In November 2016, a trial container train from Yiwu City in Zhejiang province in China arrived in Latvia after completing an 11,000 km journey over 12 days through northeastern China and Siberia. It was a major logistical achievement and, possibly, a hint on the far-reaching China logistics plans.

To give a deeper glimpse in the plan, China will hold a high-profile Belt and Road Forum in May 2017.

Maris Andzans, a researcher at the Latvian Institute of International Affairs, believes that Latvia has numerous advantages in terms of transport and cargo shipping: «Including geographic location, experience in East-West transit, professional and multi-lingual personnel, part of the EU single market, (and) enhanced multi-modality with Riga International Airport, with its cargo handling capabilities and experience, e.g. cargo transportation to and from Afghanistan, compared to Estonia or Lithuania,“ he said recently in a recent interview.

Rail Baltica hopes

The Baltics‘ passenger and heavy haul rail system is expected to receive a major boost from the Rail Baltica project, which, when implemented, will link Tallinn, Riga, Kaunas, Warsaw and Berlin and might potentially be extended even to Venice.

As part of the North Sea–Baltic core network corridor, it is expected to attract some major European rail powers, like Germany and France and, well, China, too.

Whether it will connect China with Latvia –not Lithuania- remains yet to be seen.

Ref: 020/111.111.111.4542


Leave a reply

  1. Jana says:

    Really? Really?

    What is going on? China is a repressive Communist country. Will you allow this again? Are you reading what China is doing to their own citizens? To Hong Kong? They are cutting everyone off from the internet. They are arresting Hong Kongers for speaking up for democracy!

    Shame Shame Shame! How can we?

SRS uncovers numerous violations more than half of inspected companies

State Revenue Service’s Tax Control Office performed a total of 305 thematic inspections of employers in Latvia in Q1 2018. Authorities recorded violations in 171 inspections, according to information from SRS.

Third level pension plan deposit volumes reach new record value

Residents’ interest for pension savings remains high. The volume of deposits made to private pension funds in the first three months of 2018 has reached a new historic peak: a total of EUR 16.5 million has been paid to 3rd level pension accounts, which is 11.6% more when compared to the same period of 2017, as reported by Finance and Capital Market Commission.

Petrol station network in Latvia caught performing fraudulent activities with diesel fuel

State Revenue Service’s Tax and Customs Police have uncovered and put an end to a fraudulent scheme with diesel fuel performed by some network of petrol stations in Latvia, as confirmed by the service.

Kaimiņš: I believe CPCB is performing a political order

In the evening of Thursday, 21 June, Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau released three people previously detained as part of a criminal process regarding possible illegal funding of KPV LV party – Saeima deputy Artuss Kaimiņš, his colleague Atis Zakatistovs, and businessman Viesturs Tamužs.

Latvia’s parliament conceptually supports new sanction regulations

On Thursday, 21 June, Saeima supported in the final reading amendments to the Law on International Sanctions and National Sanctions of the Republic of Latvia that are meant to improve sanction regime regulations to ensure efficient application of national and international sanctions, as reported by Saeima press-service.

Storm in Tallinn floods streets, cuts Croatia-Argentina match short on TV

A rain storm has hit northern Estonia on Thursday, flooding some streets in the capital Tallinn, damaged buildings and badly affected the broadcast of an interesting World Cup game.

American banks tested for financial stress show positive results

The U.S. has performed banking stress tests and found that the 35 largest banks operating in the country have enough funds on hand to sail safely through a severe financial crisis.

Saeima fires judge for coming to work in a drunken state

On Thursday, 21 June, Latvia’s parliament supported the proposal to dismiss Rezekne Court judge Arvis Garais from his post. 71 deputies voted in favour, no one abstained and no one voted against.

UK to have three requirements to EU citizens willing to remain in UK

For citizens of the European Union willing to continue living in the UK after the country leaves the bloc, they will have to submit applications and answer three key questions over the internet, according to the country's interior minister.

Weather in Latvia to be rainy and cool during Ligo; next week’s weather to be dry and hot

Weather at the end of the week in Latvia will be dictated by a cyclone. Because of that, there will be instances of rain on Ligo. Weather is expected to improve next week, however, according to Latvia’s State Environment, Geology and Meteorology Centre.

Lithuania’s blood plasma corruption scandal extends to Latvia

The former head of Lithuania‘s National Blood Centre, suspected of corruption and involvement in unlicenced activity, received more bad news this week from Latvia, where investigators of the Lithuanian Special Investigation Service had questioned the Latvian Health minister, Anda Čakša.

Administrative burden to be reduced for foreign students and researchers

The administrative burden will be reduced for foreign students and researchers, as well as all education and research institutions hosting them. This is provided by the amendments to the Immigration Law approved by the Saeima in the third reading on Thursday, 21 June.

Latvian Economy Minister endures no-confidence vote

Saeima declined opposition deputies’ request for dismissal of Economy Minister Arvils Ašeradens.

Swedbank economist becomes new member of Bank of Latvia Council

On Thursday, 21 June, Latvia’s Saeima approved Mārtiņš Kazāks in his new post as member of Bank of Latvia Council, as confirmed by Saeima’s press-service.

Pope Francis’ visit to Latvia will be a national holiday

Latvia’s parliament has approved in the final reading a law that makes 24 September – the day Pope Francis plans to visit Latvia – a national holiday.

ICT specialist numbers in Latvia are below Europe’s average level

In Latvia, information and communication technology specialists form only 2.2% of all employed people in the country, which is considerably below the average level in the European Union – 3.7%. Romania and Greece are the only two EU member states in which the number of ICT specialists is below Latvia’s, according to European Commission’s DESI index.

Hungary adopts prison sentence for helping migrants

Hungarian National Assembly has passed a set of laws criminalising with prison terms some help provided to illegal immigrants by non-governmental organisations.

Harmony plans turning to Constitutional Court to prevent transition to Latvian language in schools

«Why should this reform stay unrealized? It is because schools are not prepared for cardinal changes coming from dozens of other reforms that have already shocked the country’s entire general education system,» says chairman of National Minority School Parents Forum and member of Harmony’s work group in Konstantīns Čekušins.

Deputies detained in KPV LV criminal case not declared suspects yet

Saeima deputy Artuss Kaimiņš and businessman Viesturs Tamužs detained in the criminal process regarding possibly illegal funding of KPV LV party have not yet been declared suspects. Both are currently in police custody. It is likely Kaimiņš will be released later today, 21 June.

Production of mines and grenades planned in Estonia

As the Estonian parliament has adopted new rules on military arms and ammunition production in the country, local defence firm Eesti Arsenal has voiced its plan to build a factory in Estonia to make military explosives.

Total tax debts in Latvia reached EUR 1.224 billion in June

At the beginning of June, total tax debts in Latvia, including topical, halted debts and extended repayment terms were equal to EUR 1.233 billion, which is 0.6% less compared to May, as reported by State Revenue Service.

Switch off internet nationwide during exams – Algerian approach

In an attempt to prevent cheating during secondary school exams, the north African nation Algeria, has turned off internet in its whole territory.

Control Service proposes kicking out shell companies as intensely as offshore companies

Shell companies in Latvia should be combated with the same intensity once shown to offshore companies, says chief of Anti-Money Laundering Service Ilze Znotiņa.

EU imposes tariffs on blue jeans, motorcycles and other U.S. export goods

The European Union will introduce retaliatory tariffs against U.S. exports on Friday, EU Trade Commissioner has stated a top official has stated in the bloc's reaction to Washington imposing steep duties on steel and aluminium earlier in June.

Latvia’s Saeima proposes improving job-combining rules for state officials

On Wednesday, 20 June, Latvian parliament’s Public Administration and Local Government Committee decided to submit for review amendments to the Law on Prevention of Conflict of Interest in Activities of Public Officials.

Newest comments