VILNIUS – Business cooperation between Lithuania and Belgium makes both countries even more resilient to recent challenges, King Philippe of Belgium said in Vilnius on Tuesday.
"Lithuanian and Belgium companies in present years build their activities on solid ground," the king said at a Lithuanian-Belgian business forum. "This common ground will allow us to identify common ground to foster green energy, technologies, logistics and services, making our countries more resilient."
"We also share with each other many challenges solving conflicts, disinformation, cyber-attacks, high energy prices, vulnerable supply chains and a skills shortage on the labor market," he said.
"These confront our governments, companies and families, but at the same time, they encourage us to find innovative solutions."
President Gitanas Nauseda noted that Lithuanian-Belgian relations date back to years after World War One and that Belgium has become one of Lithuania's most important trade partners.
"Trade between Lithuania and the Kingdom of Belgium has increased by 46 percent since 2016," he said at the opening of the business forum. "I think we should all be optimistic about the prospects for our cooperation."
Economy and Innovation Minister Ausrine Armonaite invited Lithuanian and Belgian businesses to invest more actively in renewable energy, biotechnology, lasers, financial technology and other high-tech businesses.
According to the minister, Lithuania has always considered Belgium as one of the priority markets for Lithuanian exports and inbound tourism.
Trade between the two countries reached 1.6 billion euros last year, almost a fifth more than in 2020. Belgium has invested just over 200 million euros in Lithuania.
The business forum in Vilnius was organized on the occasion of the centenary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Lithuania and Belgium. Its participants included Vilnius Mayor Remigijus Simasius, and officials from Belgian and Lithuanian companies and various public authorities.