Riga, July 19, AZERTAC
“Lithuania and Azerbaijan maintain strong bilateral relations and intensive cooperation in various areas. Azerbaijan is one of the main economic partners of Lithuania in the South Caucasus,” Lithuanian Energy Minister Rokas Masiulis has told AZERTAC. “Statistics of bilateral trade indicate that since 2013 trade turnover was constantly increasing and in 2015 reached 70 million euros - twice as much as in 2013. However, considering not very high volumes in figures, the potential for developing the economic cooperation is far from exhausted. We still have a lot of untapped opportunities in trade, investments and tourism.”
He said: “Lithuanian business representatives see a huge interest in a dynamic Azerbaijani market. Lithuania can offer food, electrical equipment and furniture industry‘s products, which are known for their high quality and are exported to many countries. Also, there are real opportunities to further expand cooperation in the spheres of information technology, transport, energy and education.”
“Bilateral investment cooperation has a great potential to be expanded further. Powered by the adoption of the Euro, highly skilled professionals, a supportive economic environment and world-class infrastructure, Lithuania has all of the essential features necessary for foreign companies seeking to establish a business hub in Europe, or grow their existing presence on the continent.”
The minister highlighted the bilateral relations in the energy sector. “Lithuania together with Georgia, Poland, Ukraine and Azerbaijan, which is represented by SOCAR, cooperate in the oil pipeline project (Sarmatia). There are regular visits in which project challenges and implementation possibilities are discussed. All five countries seek to cooperate closer developing Sarmatia project,” he said.
Minister Masiulis also spoke of regional projects. “Lithuania welcomes the mutually beneficial cooperation between our countries in the transport sector. The important point in this collaboration is to optimize the schemes of delivery of goods between Europe and Asia, where Azerbaijan and Lithuania are the connecting transit link.”
“In May, the accession of Azerbaijan to the international project of combined train "Viking", in the light of the development of new transport corridors (Initiative New Silk Road) and the train of Baku - Tbilisi - Kars railway will provide a quick, cost-effective and safe way to transport cargo between the Baltic-Black -Caspian seas. It is the "Viking" can offer an alternative route for the transportation of goods from Asia-Caucasus-Europe corridor for TRASECA.”
“Development of transport infrastructure in the region of the Eastern Partnership is a key element of the European Neighbourhood Policy. Lithuania strongly supports the extension of TEN-T core network for the transport network in the Eastern Partnership countries. We therefore call
Azerbaijan, within the framework of existing EU programs and instruments for the implementation of projects aimed at improving the interconnectivity of transport between the EU and Azerbaijan,” he noted.
The minister also hailed “a great” potential to bring energy resources from Azerbaijan to European markets in the near future. “Southern Gas Corridor, supported by European Commission, could help to bring gas from Azerbaijan to European markets. Lithuania supports this project. The aim of Southern Gas Corridor is to diversify supplies of countries in Central and South East Europe,” he added.