Lithuanian president calls on China to improve investment environment for EU businesses
Opening a trade and investment forum on the sidelines of an import exhibition in Shanghai, the Lithuanian president underlined that amid signs of slowing global economy, Europe and China should have a shared goal of combining "effort to hold the spread of protectionism around the world by addressing the root causes of trade tensions, including overcapacity and unfair competition".
"For the European Union, it's important that China makes a commitment to create a more attractive and open investment environment. This is also important because we are negotiating an investment treaty with China," Grybauskaitė said.
In her words, China's opening-up is important not only for Europe but also for this Asian country as well, and also for the growth of the global economy. The Lithuanian president underlined tat investment transparency should be "above the interests of any business group".
"Transparency, the rule of law and strict compliance with international agreements – that needs to be a substance in the environment for new investment relations," Grybauskaitė pointed out. "Corrupt capital flows not to be welcome and not supposed to be welcome in any country of the world, not only here or in our countries."
With its first imports exhibition, China seeks to soften criticism that it fails to open up its market and only protects its own companies. The exhibition is being attended by over a dozen of state leader, over 2,800 companies from 130 countries and regions, including Lithuania.
Official figures from Lithuania's statistics service, Statistics Lithuania, show that China is the 25th among Lithuania's exports partners, and comes in 13th in terms of imports. Lithuania's exports to China jumped 50 percent last year to 180 million euros. Meanwhile, the value of Chinese imports in Lithuanian exceeded 820 million euros.
Some officials fear that investments from China in Lithuania might also bring unwanted political influence, and Beijing's exceptional focus on Eastern Europe is splitting the EU's unity.