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Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevičius: we hope for changes in relations with China

Date

2014 12 17

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While on a working visit in Belgrade, Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevičius met with Prime Minister of the People’s Republic of China, Li Keqiang, to discuss possibilities for closer political and economic cooperation, development of relations in transport, agriculture, and education, as well as China + 16 format and its outlook for the future.

The Prime Minister noted Lithuania’s approval of the cooperation developments under the format China + 16 and pointed out the need for closer bilateral economic relations, particularly in the fields of transport and agriculture. “In the first half of this year, our exports to China went up by almost 20 per cent, but what we need now is a new impulse to our cooperation in the agricultural sector. Lithuania is still waiting for import permits for milk and meat products,” said the Prime Minister.

The largest exports growth has been observed up to now in electrical machinery and equipment, optical, photographic, cinematographic, measuring, medical and surgical instruments as well as furniture and household goods.

The Lithuanian Prime Minister took the opportunity to invite China to make greater use of the Klaipėda port infrastructure and freight train Sun, all the more considering that there are plans to create an integrated transport system between Europe and Asia.

“This is a train that has, since 2011, been running from Klaipėda to China via Kazakhstan covering 1.3 thousand kilometres in 13 days. Chinese entrepreneurs are welcome to fully use the benefits of this train in terms of its safety, speed and cost-effectiveness,” said the Head of Government.

The Prime Minister also noted the delay in coordinating the agreement on recognition of higher education qualification between Lithuania and China. According to the Prime Minister, this would provide for greater student mobility between the two countries, at the same time increasing transparency in higher education, and facilitating employment opportunities in both countries. Lithuania is ready to sign an agreement in the near future.

The Head of Government has also pointed out that Lithuanian universities offer excellent engineering, architectural and medical studies to talented students from China. As of this year, Chinese citizens have become eligible for a state grant for full-time Master’s studies.

Prime Minister Butkevičius has also invited Chinese investors to participate in infrastructure projects in Lithuania.