"In the future, Lithuanian companies may also operate in Karabakh"
    Caliber.Az talks to Vidmantas Janulevičius

    INTERVIEWS  25 May 2023 - 11:06

    Huseyn Safarov

    Caliber.Az presents an interview with Vidmantas Janulevičius, president of the Confederation of Lithuanian Industrialists.

     - It has been a year since a governmental delegation led by Lithuanian President Gitanas Nausseda visited Baku. At that time you remarked in your interview with Caliber.Az that Lithuania did not use the full potential of cooperation with Azerbaijan. What changed in the relations between our countries during the year and what projects were implemented?

    - The annual increase in the goods turnover between our two countries is 10 per cent, but the potential is far from being exhausted. I think, in economic terms, the trade turnover between our countries could grow many times over. In any case, we should strive for it. Over the last year products of a Lithuanian food company appeared in Azerbaijan. Ecological goods are also supplied under the Eco brand. The flow of fuel and lubricants from Azerbaijan to Lithuania has increased. These are all positive factors, nevertheless, we have opportunities to expand cooperation and the exchange of goods.

    - The ceremony of signing of Azerbaijani-Lithuanian documents was held on May 22 in Vilnius with the participation of the President of Azerbaijan and the President of Lithuania.  A business forum was held following the ceremony and you, as the president of the Confederation of Lithuanian Industrialists, also attended the event. Can you tell us what happened at this forum?

    - More than 50 companies (B2B) from both sides participated in the business forum. This is a good indicator. Companies represented different sectors - food industry, construction materials, mechanical engineering, machine tools, energy, renewable energy, and use of fossil sources, as Lithuania consumes a lot of gas. Three agreements were signed at the level of the Confederation of Lithuanian Industrialists and many different discussions were held. We talked about the possibilities of joint projects based on joint R&D with the EU and the possibilities of technological exchange in the field of energy. We talked about Lithuania's capabilities to help Azerbaijan to sort out new rules and procedures for importing various goods to the EU. It is crucial for Lithuania that the EU does not have any questions for Azerbaijan on the violation of the sanctions regime against Russia.

    The forum also touched upon the issue of mutual investments, the volume of which could significantly increase, but for the time being, they are not large volumes. In a word, both Azerbaijan and Lithuania see the potential for development.

    - Will the opening of the Zangazur corridor in the future have a positive impact on cooperation between our countries in the field of logistics and transport?

    - It certainly will. The more goods exchanged between the countries, the better for business. And this opportunity can be developed and increased. The more logistics corridors, the more opportunities for businesses to cooperate. Azerbaijan and Lithuania are hubs, which could work for neighboring countries as well. Just as Lithuania to Scandinavia and Baltic countries and Western Europe, so can Azerbaijan work with its neighbours across the Caspian Sea and other corridors. Logistics is very important today. Hopefully, there will be more opportunities to trade.

    - Lithuania is an exporter of solar and wind energy technologies. Were there any proposals to the Azerbaijani side in this area at the last business forum?

    - Azerbaijan has great offshore wind potential. This is a huge opportunity for Azerbaijan to export natural resources (gas and oil) and produce raw materials. And solar and wind can help to save the same gas and develop the non-oil sector. It is very logical and correct.

    - Are Lithuanian companies present in the Karabakh economic region?

    - As of today there are no Lithuanian companies in Karabakh as far as I know, but things are moving towards the resolution of the disagreements between Armenia and Azerbaijan. It can even be seen in the rhetoric of the EU, and there are hopes for this, which means that in the future our companies may also operate in the Karabakh economic region. Sooner or later these areas must be used to produce renewable energy, electricity from wind and sunlight, and then switch to hydrogen which can be used for various industries instead of gas, reducing carbon dioxide emissions. All these possibilities exist and will certainly be explored by Lithuania.


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