VILNIUS – A large part of goods that used to be exported to China will definitely find their new markets, Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis says as he is set to return from his visit to Singapore and Australia.
"A large share of products that used to go to China will definitely find their markets. The Foreign Ministry will help with that and will do everything it can," Lithuania's top diplomat told BNS by phone from Melbourne.
"The promotion of economic ties starts with the strengthening of political ties," he added.
He pointed out, however, that although politicians can "open the door but businesses need to take that last mile on their own".
Landsbergis travelled to Singapore and Australia to open up new opportunities for Lithuania in e Asian and Oceania markets as Lithuanian businesses have been facing difficulties in exporting to China since late last year when a diplomatic dispute broke out between Vilnius and Beijing.
China suspended beef imports from Lithuania, Reuters reported on Wednesday.
POSITION ON CHINA
Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne voiced her country's support for Vilnius in its dispute with China during a joint press conference in Canberra on Wednesday.
Both Australia and Lithuania say they are facing China's economic and commercial pressure over their political-diplomatic positions on certain matters.
During the joint press conference, Payne also announced Australia's plans to open a representative office of Australia's Trade and Investment Commission (Austrade) "in the coming period".
"It was a surprise for me as I learnt about this directly from the minister," Landsbergis said.
He has no information on the exact opening day but underlined that it's "a huge step on Australia's part".
Founded in 1986, Austrade is the Australian government's agency for promoting trade, investment and education. It has also been responsible for its tourism policy in the past decade.
REJECTS CRITICISM OVER SINGAPORE
Ahead of his visit to Australia, Landsbergis went to Singapore. The diplomacy chief rejected criticism over Lithuania's value-based policy, with critics saying that Lithuania declares the importance of democratic values in its dispute with China, but still wants to develop ties with a country that is ruled d by the same party for half a century and where media and sexual minority rights are restricted.
"I am afraid that sometimes such arguments are provided due to a lack of insight or by intentionally looking for some critical points," the minister said. "We have an embassy in Russia, we have not cut our diplomatic ties, we have an embassy in Belarus, and I have not heard calls to close it."
The same is applicable to China too, Landsbergis said.
"Lithuania has not cut its diplomatic ties with China. It's just establishing its trade ties with Taiwan and has received China's reactions because of that," the minister said.
Lithuania is establishing its embassy in Singapore in 2022 and it would be also accredited to Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam and the ASEAN. It is expected to start working in the spring.