VILNIUS - Lithuanian businesses should make the most of the opportunities for cooperation with Taiwan's market in the area of technology, Paulius Lukauskas, head of the Lithuanian Trade Representative Office in Taiwan, opened earlier month, says.
"Taiwan has a huge technological and scientific potential, so I think the biggest opportunities to work with it lie here, the ways we could work together in the areas of science and technology to create products that are competitive globally and can be sold in Europe, America and possibly in Asian markets," Lukauskas said in an interview with BNS.
He acknowledged, however, that it takes longer to sell high added value and high-tech products than selling food products.
In his words, a demonstrational Lithuanian laser laboratory will be launched soon at the Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) in Taiwan where Taiwanese companies will be able to get acquainted with the laser technology developed in Lithuania. The laboratory will pave the way for joint Lithuanian-Taiwanese projects and increase Lithuania's export volumes to this Asian market, Lukauskas says.
In his interview with BNS, Lukauskas underlined that the first investment, worth 3.5 million euros, by Taiwanese venture capital fund Taiwania Capital in Lithuanian laser company Litilit has already been made, export permits for dairy, fish and egg products have been approved, and exports of Lithuanian beef products are expected to get OK by the end of the year.
Moreover, Lukauskas has also met with representatives of Taiwan's Export-Import Bank, Eximbank, managing a loan fund worth 1 billion US dollars, and Lithuania expects the first loans from this fund to be announced by the end of the year, having already very clear candidates for this facility.
"Perhaps we should not rush into it as the Taiwanese will make the final decisions. If these were Lithuanian investments or instruments, of course, we could be bolder and more confident. Since the buttons will have to be pushed and the signatures will have to be put on the Taiwanese side, let's wait a little bit. But the end of this year is not so far away and we will soon hear about it," Lukauskas said when asked to name the candidates for loans.
"It's probably no secret that key cooperation with Taiwan is taking place in the area of high technology, so that's probably where our eyes should be when thinking about future results," he added.
He believes it would a mistake to think that the Taiwanese market can compensate for Lithuania's trade losses with China.
"I think it would be wrong to think we can compensate for our losses with China this way. Taiwan has an enormous technological and scientific potential, and I think this is where our biggest opportunities of working with Taiwan lie, in terms of how we can work together in the areas of science and technology to develop products that are competitive in global markets and that can be sold in those markets, both in Europe and America, and perhaps in Asia," the head of Lithuania's representative office said.
In his words, by working together, Lithuania and Taiwan can sell much larger volumes in European markets that may not be as natural for the Taiwanese as they are for Lithuania.
Asked about the scope and areas of Taiwan's investments that can be expected in Lithuania in the near future, Lukauskas mentioned the area of high technology.
"The first investment clearly showed the direction – lasers. We also need to look at other areas where we are good at, including biotechnology and ICT (information and communications technology - BNS) where Lithuania has a lot of experience and some advantages," he said.
Commenting on the upcoming cooperation between Taiwan's Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) and Lithuania's Teltonika in the development of semiconductor design and manufacturing technology, Lukauskas called this project the flagship of this cooperation.
"However, we have a whole series of other talks with the same institute in the areas of both biotechnology and lasers. I think we will be able to enjoy some progress in laser cooperation soon," Lukauskas said.
He, however, refrained to comment as to why the Lithuanian Trade Representative Office in Taiwan is officially called a representative office in Taipei.