Lithuania has solid research capabilities and innovation while Taiwan has commercialisation capabilities and experiences in developing international markets, a Taiwanese official told Euractiv, adding that they would be glad to provide various kinds of facilitation to deepen this cooperation.
The comment comes after Taiwan’s National Science and Technology Council and the Lithuanian Research Council signed a memorandum of understanding on 22 September to strengthen research and development cooperation in lasers, biotechnology, semiconductors and other areas.
“Lithuania has solid research capabilities and innovation, while Taiwan has commercialisation capabilities and experiences in developing international markets, which will be an essential model for broadening Taiwan-Lithuania economic cooperation,” Alex Liao, director of the Economic Division on behalf of the Taiwanese Representative Office in Lithuania, told Euractiv.
According to Liao, both countries share the same development direction, as Lithuania has chosen biotechnology and laser as its strategic industries, while Taiwan’s strategic industries include biotechnology precision machinery and semiconductors.
“We encourage enterprises and research institutes between Taiwan and Lithuania to expand contacts and deepen exchanges, and we will be glad to provide various kinds of facilitation,” he said.
Relations between both countries increased after Lithuania allowed Taiwan to open its de facto embassy under its own name, The Taiwanese Representative Office in Lithuania, rather than after its capital city – Taipei.
China heavily criticised the move, which accused Lithuania of violating the one-China principle, according to which Taiwan is an inalienable part of the country. This resulted in China removing Lithuania from its customs registry, blocking shipments, and pressuring international businesses to leave the Baltic country.
On the Lithuanian side, Foreign Minister Gabrielus Landsbergis defended his country’s policy towards Taiwan as primarily economic and admitted that it had a PR aspect, according to LRT.
“First of all, the decision [on Taiwan] was about reducing China’s economic clout and finding new partners,” he said.
According to Liao, “the Taiwanese government encourages Taiwanese companies to invest in Lithuania, as a firm commitment to democracy, the rule of law and the mutual support to partners with similar philosophies”.
He shared that Taiwan set up around €190 million Central and Eastern Europe Investment Fund, a nearly €1 billion CEE Loan Fund and other policy tools with Lithuania as the focus, which will be an essential consideration for Taiwanese businesses to consider Lithuania as a starting point in developing the European market.
In a recent press release, the Taiwanese Representative Office in Lithuania shared that Free Bionics, which develops smart robots in healthcare and rehabilitation systems, is looking at opening hubs in Lithuania.
“In addition to Free Bionics, many other companies have the same strategic thinking,” Liao said, adding that apart from biotech companies, there are also food, bicycle, fintech and green energy companies evaluating and preparing to invest in Lithuania.
Last week, Lithuania’s presidential advisor Asta Skaisgirytė criticised Taiwan on Žinių radijas, saying that “there were higher hopes from Taiwan because when they were opening their representative office, they were promising huge investments, which so far are not so visible,” LRT reported.
She added that she hoped the economic relations would continue to grow and more investments would come from Taiwan.