Taiwan will invest US$200m to support Lithuania’s industry

Taiwan announced it would invest US$200 million in a development fund for Lithuania.

Taipei celebrates the opening of the "Taiwan representative office" in Lithuania
Taipei celebrates the opening of the “Taiwan representative office” in Lithuania | © Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of China (Taiwan)

As part of their strengthening economic ties, Taiwan said on January 4 they would invest US$200 million in Lithuania’s economy.

The investment would be financed by Taiwan’s National Development Council and would support Lithuania’s high-tech sector. More details would be provided later but “I can imagine the first top priorities will be semiconductor, laser (and) biotechnology“, Eric Huang said, the head of the Taiwanese Representative Office in Lithuania during an online press event.

In effect, Lithuania is a leader in laser technology. It can play a crucial part in future developments of the microchip industry, where Taiwan is one of the world’s largest semiconductor producers but lagging in photonics technology.

In November, Lithuania opened Taiwan’s representative office, sparking political and economic retaliation from China. Beijing decided to downgrade its relations with Vilnius to the lowest diplomatic level.

Such representative offices in the world are usually named after Taipei. Beijing considered the move as a violation of the “One China” rule, a fundamental principle to conducting business with mainland China.

Economic retaliation of China against Lithuania

In December, Ecuador broke ties with Taiwan to improve business relations with China. The Solomon Islands did the same in 2019, causing some tensions internally.

China has been making economic relations with Lithuania more difficult.

On January 4, Lithuania President Gitanas Nauseda, said on Lithuanian radio that the name of the office, set up based on economic interests, was a mistake. Lithuanian representatives later reassured Taiwan of their mutual economic commitment.

China was Lithuania’s top export market in 2020, and Taiwan less than 2%.

But Taiwan wants to show support to its economic partner. “We will do what we can in terms of deepening our economic chain and technical cooperation with Lithuania“, Hsiao Bi-khim, Taiwan’s representative in Washington, told Reuters in December.

Taiwan has redirected 120 shipping containers from Lithuania blocked by China into its market, Eric Huang said.

According to state-run media, Taiwan Tobacco and Liquor Corp, a Taiwanese government-owned liquor firm, allegedly said in a statement it bought 20,400 bottles of rum after it learned from the ministry of Finance that China would refuse the spirit from a Lithuanian company. Newsendip could not confirm the statement was actually published.

The National Development Council shared tips to make cocktails with rum. Demand for Lithuanian products in Taiwan skyrocketed, the Washington Post reports.

Read more about Taiwan

Taiwan National Development Council, Facebook, January 2020, Free access

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