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Taiwan’s business investment in Lithuania is set to grow against the background of a trade conflict between the Baltic EU country and Beijing. Photo: Shutterstock Images

Beijing warns Lithuania to back away from business ties, cooperation with Taiwan

  • Lithuania pledges closer cooperation with Taiwan after launching its representative office in Taipei on Monday
  • Taipei is investing millions in business, financial and industrial partnerships with Lithuania
Beijing has called on Vilnius to respect the one-China principle and end its partnership with Taiwan as the Baltic nation seeks to expand cooperation with Taipei.

Lithuania must “prudently handle” the Taiwan question and effectively maintain a political foundation for bilateral ties with China, mainland foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said on Tuesday.

He made the comment in response to Lithuania’s official launch of its office in Taipei.

In an opening ceremony in Taipei on Monday, Paulius Lukauskas, Lithuania’s de facto envoy in Taiwan, pledged closer cooperation with the island, especially in trade and investment.

Taiwan’s ‘tech diplomacy’ on display in Baltic visit amid China tensions

Taiwan will put at least €30 million (US$29.99 million) towards business, financing and industrial cooperation with Lithuania, which has defied repeated warnings from Beijing against strengthening ties with the self-ruled island.

The Baltic state clashed with Beijing last year over its decision to swap representative offices with Taiwan. In retaliation, the mainland Chinese authorities downgraded official ties with the Lithuanian capital and slapped trade sanctions on the country.
On Monday, Taiwan announced the first major investment of €10 million in three business projects in Lithuania through its US$200 million Central and Eastern Europe Investment Fund.


Taiwanese supporters queue up to buy Lithuanian rum held up by mainland China

Taiwanese supporters queue up to buy Lithuanian rum held up by mainland China

According to the island’s National Development Council, the fund operator, Taiwania Capital, has already approved a €3.5 million investment in Lithuania’s ultra-fast laser technology producer Litilit.

“Two more investments in Lithuania are expected to be announced later this year or by early next year, bringing the total to €10 million,” a council official said.

Through a €1 billion loan facility set up earlier this year in Taiwan, the island’s Export-Import Bank was also soon expected to approve a loan guarantee of up to €9 million for two joint ventures between Lithuanian and Taiwanese companies, the official said.

The island would also provide another €10 million towards production of semiconductors, electric buses and laser projects, the official said, adding there would be more investments from the island for the Baltic state in coming years.

The island had also approved imports of fish, eggs and dairy products from Lithuania to help boost agricultural trade, the official noted.

Taiwan’s €3.5 billion investment in the laser company was the first to be made since the island established the Central and European Investment Fund earlier this year.

The fund is focused on developing business ties with Central and Eastern European countries, including Lithuania, Slovakia and the Czech Republic, which have been increasingly annoyed by Beijing over what they perceive as economic invasions of their countries.

On Tuesday, Taiwanese foreign ministry spokeswoman Joanne Ou said the official launch of the Lithuania representative office in Taipei was a new milestone in friendly relations of the two sides.

Lithuania’s office in Taipei begins operations, Taiwan confirms

“Taiwan and Lithuania are close partners standing up against authoritarianism on the front line, sharing not only the universal values of democracy and freedom, but also facing various challenges from post-pandemic recovery and the Russia-Ukraine war,” Ou said.

“With authoritarian countries using trade sanctions as a tool to threaten others … it would be helpful for Taiwan and Lithuania to work together to find a new blueprint to achieve economic development and enhance supply chain resilience in the democratic world.”


US-Taiwan trade talks prompt Beijing warning, ‘economic coercion’ on agenda

US-Taiwan trade talks prompt Beijing warning, ‘economic coercion’ on agenda

Lithuanian Minister of the Economy and Innovation Aušrinė Armonaitė said the opening of the office in Taiwan was aimed at strengthening Lithuania’s position in the Asian region, expanding exports of Lithuanian lasers and biotechnologies, as well as food products.

“Today, we can welcome the first achievements of Lithuania’s economic cooperation with Taiwan,” she said.

“I have no doubt that with the opening of Lithuania’s trade representative office in Taipei, our work with this promising market will intensify even further.”

According to her office, despite trade sanctions imposed by Beijing, exports of Lithuanian goods to its 10 main trading partners in the Indo-Pacific region amounted to “half a billion euros” in January-August this year, and were 60 per cent higher than in the same period last year. Lithuanian exports to Taiwan amounted to €19 million.