The first meeting between Seimas Economics Committee Chairman Rimantas Sinkevičius and Canada’s newly-appointed Ambassador to Lithuania Kevin Rex on 22 November 2018 served as the occasion to announce the launch of the newly-established Lithuanian Canadian Chamber of Commerce.
At a meeting that included the Ambassador as well as MPs, business leaders and Chamber members, Sinkevičius lauded the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) signed by the EU and Canada last year. He said he hopes the Chamber will take advantage of the agreement to strengthen Lithuanian-Canadian trade and economic cooperation.
“CETA will help Europe save about 590 million euros in duties. About 150 Lithuanian companies export products to Canada, including textiles, fuel, furniture, and food products. It’s great when our political and economic interests coincide,” noted Sinkevičius.
Ambassador Rex likewise hailed the establishment of the Chamber, noting that, thanks to CETA, Canadian exports to Lithuanian have already grown 41% and Lithuanian exports to Canada are up 58% since last year.
The Lithuanian Canadian Chamber of Commerce was established earlier this year by a group of Lithuanian and Canadian business leaders. The Chamber aims to foster trade and business between Canada and Lithuania. The Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania formally ratified CETA in April of 2018. The Agreement is already provisionally in force. It cuts tariffs and makes it easier to export good and services between the EU and Canada.
Chamber President Rimas Čuplinskas, who was present at the meeting, noted that CETA offers Lithuania various business opportunities in the relatively unknown Canadian market. The Chamber, he said, will “assist and encourage Lithuanian businesspeople and, when possible, businesspeople from other EU states to implement their business goals in Canada effectively. The Chamber will help bring Canadian business and capital to Lithuania and…will also open doors in Canada to Lithuanian goods and services. Increased trade and business ties will, in turn, promote cultural cooperation.”
Also present and participating in the meeting were MPs and former Prime Ministers Gediminas Kirkilas and Andrius Kubilius, Chairman of the Seimas Foreign Affairs Committee Juozas Bernatonis, and the heads of two major Canadian companies operating in Lithuania, Circle K and CGI. Other major Canadian companies operating in Lithuania include IDW, Aurora Cannabis, Oberlo (Shopify), Sanitas, and VPH. Lithuania’s biggest exporters to Canada are the companies Vičiūnai and Norvelita.