Taipei [Taiwan], August 19 (ANI): Amid heightened tensions with China, Lithuania plans to open a trade office in Taiwan next month in September.
Lithuania has appointed Paulius Lukauskas, an adviser to Lithuanian Prime Minister Ingrida Simonyte, to head the office, the Lithuanian Economy and Innovation Ministry said on Wednesday, reported Taipei Times.
"Taiwan is included in Lithuania's priority markets for innovation cooperation, exports and foreign direct investment. In the first half of this year, exports of Lithuanian-origin goods and services to Taipei increased by one-third," Lithuanian Minister of the Economy and Innovation Ausrine Armonaite was quoted as saying in the statement.
The relations between China and Lithuania deteriorated after Taiwan opened its official representative office in Vilnius in November 2021. Beijing lodged a protest against Lithuania and later downgraded the bilateral relations to the level of charges d'affaires.
Beijing in February this month, suspended imports of beef from Lithuania, according to a document released by the Chinese General Administration of Customs.
The office in Taipei would not only help diversify Lithuania's economic representation in Asia, but also promote mutual technological cooperation, the statement said.
Moreover, two-way trade for the first six months of this year increased by 92.6 per cent year-on-year, it said.
Lukauskas has more than 20 years of experience in the industry, and held corporate executive positions before assuming public office, it said.
Lithuania has commercial representatives in its embassies in the UK, the US, Sweden, Norway, Finland, France, Germany, the Netherlands and Israel, and expects to bring the total to 23 by 2024, the statement said.
Newly installed commercial representatives are to be stationed in embassies in South Korea, Japan and Poland, and the number of business representatives in the US and German embassies is to be expanded to three each, it said.
Lukauskas is advising Simonyte on strategic reforms, and previously headed Enterprise Lithuania, the country's entrepreneurship and export development agency.
The new trade office is to be called Lithuania's Trade Representative Office in Taipei, reported Taipei Times.
Lithuanian officials also said that it would be a commercial office and not diplomatic in nature, the Baltic News Service said.
In Taipei, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Thursday said it looks forward to close cooperation with the trade office.
China claims full sovereignty over Taiwan despite the separate two sides being governed separately for more than seven decades. Taipei continues to counter the Chinese aggression by increasing strategic ties with democracies including the US. (ANI)