Business and Economy
Successful business cooperation between Lithuania and the Czech Republic (Czechoslovakia) dates back to early 1920s, following establishment of the two new independent states. Upon purchasing eight Š-20L (L standing for Lithuania) biplanes manufactured by Letov Kbely for Lithuanian Air Force (Karo Aviacije), Lithuania effectively became the first export market for Czech aviation industry. Commercial relations between the two countries have however never been more dynamic than today. Except for 2008-2009 period, volume of mutual trade in the last 20 years grew annually by 25% on average. In 2011, the trade turnover advanced to its pre-crisis level of over EUR 400 million.
Czech-made products are not unfamiliar to Lithuanian customers. While Budweiser Budvar and Pilsner Urquel beer brands do not need much introduction, we noticed a growing demand among Lithuanian wine lovers for balanced wines from South Moravia region known for their characteristic taste, such as Pinot Gris and Pálava. Likewise, pharmaceutical company Zentiva (today part of sanofi-aventis group) and food-supplement producer Wallmark have many loyal consumers in Lithuania.
Passengers frequently commuting between Vilnius and Kaunas appreciate new quality of railway transportation on board of modern double-deckers (or CityElefants, as we call them in Czech Republic) supplied by ŠKODA VAGONKA. I am pleased to announce that the fleet of very popular electric multiple-unit vehicles operated by Lithuanian Railways (Lietuvos geležinkeliai) will double by 2014.
With air transportation growing rapidly, Prague benefits from being one of only three EU capitals with daily flights from Vilnius. Though other cities are serviced by low cost carriers, flying with Czech Airlines via Prague to destinations across Europe is for many Lithuanian businessmen part of their travel routine. From those who prefer driving on the road in their own car, almost 10% have chosen one of ŠKODA AUTO models last year. Sales of the largest Czech exporter advanced well over 30% in 2011 and staged an impressive comeback to claim the 4th position in Lithuania’s personal car market.
The growth of Lithuanian exports to the Czech Republic is equally impressive. In the five years before the 2008-2009 period, Lithuanian exports grew annually by 40% on average. Preliminary data show that 2011 was indeed a record-setting year for Czech imports from Lithuania. Major import items include plastic materials, furniture, fertilisers, paper, textile, agricultural and dairy products, therefore it is no surprise that Ikea Hanim, Chemopetrol, Philip Morris, Agrofert Holding and ArcelorMittal Distribution are among the largest Czech importers from Lithuania.
With mutual trade exceeding many of the higher purchasing power economies, Czech Republic and Lithuania are traditionally good and dependable allies and exports partners. The Embassy of the Czech Republic to Lithuania is firmly committed to further strengthening our economic and political partnership.