Baltics in Brief

  • 1998-08-06
GOVERNMENT HELPS LITHUANIAN FARMERS: The Lithuanian government will determine higher minimal purchase prices for food grain for all grain-processing and storage firms. Agriculture Minister Eduardas Makelis said the ministry proposed to pay 530 litas ($132.50) for a ton of first grade wheat, including a 70-lita state subsidy. Minimal purchase price for a ton of second grade wheat would be 470 litas, including 50 litas state subsidy. A ton of rye would cost the same, but the state subsidy would be 100 litas. Makelis stressed that proposed prices were significantly higher than last year's prices. The government agreed to assign an additional 40 million litas from privatization and agriculture support funds for this purpose. The Lithuanian agriculture and food market supervising agency would assist exports of about 200,000 tons of surplus grain expected this year. (ELTA)

MAXIMUM GOODIES AT MAKSIMARKET: Maksimarket, the largest one-level trade center in the Baltics, will be opened in Tallinn on Aug. 7. It's the third Maksimarket outlet in the city, which cost the company 26 million kroons ($1.7 million). The new trade center has 5,000 square metres of floor space and 3,000 square metres of service space. Meelis Malk, Maksimarket trade director, said by opening its third store the company intends to take a stake of 18 percent in the daily goods sector of Tallinn and the surrounding Harju County. The 1997 turnover of the two other Maksimarket stores was 174.6 million kroons. In December, a fourth Maksimarket will be opened in Tartu. (ETA)

UNIFIED FUEL EXCISE TAX IN QUESTION: Latvian Transport Minister Vilis Kristopans urged the introduction of a unified rate for fuel excise taxes in the three Baltic states. Kristopans said this measure is needed to level the playing field for truck haulers of the three countries. The talks on unifying the rates between Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania have stopped. Lithuanian truck carriers use cheaper local fuel. Kristopans said Latvia might start considering restricting the work of Lithuanian truck carriers on the Latvian market if no agreement on a unified fuel excise tax rate is reached. (BNS)

INVESTMENTS LIBERATED IN LITHUANIA: The Bank of Lithuania announced it will allow commercial banks unlimited investments not only in Lithuanian but also in foreign credit and financial institutions. The Bank of Lithuania extended the list of credit and financial institutions for investments and approved uniform investment conditions. According to the new central bank requirements, Lithuanian commercial banks should present the Bank of Lithuania information about derivative financial deals every month. (ELTA)

LACTO MAKES A SMART MOVE: Estonian dairy company AS Lacto plans to move part of its operation to the northwestern Russian town of Novgorod. Lacto bought a plant in Novgorod earlier this year. Lacto President Jakub Haidary said the company bought 90 percent of shares in the Novgorod dairy factory from small shareholders and plans to invest up to $5 million in the facilities over the next three years. Lacto needed the Russian plant to become a local producer in that country and avoid double import duties imposed by Russia on Estonian goods. Haidary said the Novgorod plant at present can work at a capacity of 100 tons of milk per day. Novgorod, Moscow, St. Petersburg and Russia's southern regions are the company's prospective sales markets. (BNS)

GREEN CARDS ARE VALID IN LATVIA: Drivers from six countries: Estonia, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Greece and Britain, can cross Latvian borders producing their Green Cards as of Aug.1. Latvia joined the international transport insurance convention or the so-called Green Card convention on July 1. Yet the cards can only be used in countries, with which bilateral agreements have been signed. The next agreements will take effect in September and following months. Latvian drivers will be able to acquire a Green Card as of November, when a sufficient number of bilateral agreements have been signed. The Green Card Convention has 42 member states, including nearly all European countries and some Asian and African countries. (BNS)

NEW CUSTOMS PROCEDURES IN LITHUANIA: The Lithuanian Cabinet approved changes in customs procedures for transit cargoes. According to the new regulations all cargo, except alcohol, tobacco and sugar, subject to the excise duty must be delivered to the destination within four days after the customs procedure begins. Previously, only two days were allowed for delivery. In addition, police escorts will no longer be required for the transit of beer. The cabinet also specified sanctions in the Administrative Law Violations Code for the failure to deliver the transit cargo to the destination on time. (BNS)