Investment climate
Investment climate, Lithuanian media

Lithuania an attractive destination for Italian investors

July 01, 2015

In recent years Italian investors have shown increased interest in investment opportunities in Lithuania. Last year alone, a number of major investors from Italy with high value-added products decided to set up operations in Lithuania. These included the high-tech enterprise Gruppo Fos, IT giant Valuetech, and an Italian capital medical equipment producer to be set up in Klaipėda Free Economic Zone. And two upcoming conferences in Italy will help to further promote Lithuania as a location for Italian businesses to grow and develop.

Strategic location, attractive taxation and competitive costs

One of the key factors that convinces Italian businesses to invest in Lithuania is the opportunity it gives to access neighbouring markets like Russia, Belarus, Poland and the Nordic countries using Lithuania’s well developed sea, land and air transport infrastructure. ‘Convenient access to these markets and the country’s location between East and West are very important factors in attracting Italian investors’, Ieva Gaižutytė, president of the Italian-Lithuanian Chamber of Commerce, said. Taxes in Lithuania are lower than those in Italy, another key value often mentioned by Italian investors. The profit tax in Italy goes up to 27.5%, with income tax set between 23% and 43%, and value added tax at 22%; the equivalent rates in Lithuania are 15%, 15% and 21% respectively. Investors are also attracted by the tax incentives offered to companies who set up in one of Lithuania’s seven free economic zones. In addition, salaries in Lithuania are around three times lower than in Italy. The average salary in Italy is slightly more than 1,500 Euro, while in Lithuania it is a little over 500 Euro.

“Italian businesspeople appreciate the simplicity and speed of setting up a business here, and also reserve praise for Lithuanian employees”, says ”Ieva Gaižutytė”, the President of the Italian-Lithuanian Chamber of Commerce.

Streamlined bureaucracy and highly-skilled personnel

One more reason why recent interest from Italian investors in Lithuania has greatly increased in recent years is the minimal red tape compared with Italy. Working with the authorities is quick, and new companies can be set up in a much shorter time than in Italy. Ms Gaižutytė said that it takes a few months to open a substantial production line in Lithuania, while in Italy this type of project would require many months, perhaps even years. Italian businesspeople appreciate the simplicity and speed of setting up a business here, and also reserve praise for Lithuanian employees. ‘I’ve heard a lot of good feedback about Lithuanian employees,’ explains Ms Gaižutytė, who has years of experience working with Italian investors. “All Lithuanians speak at least one foreign language well, are competent in their fields, motivated, proactive, hard-working, and are able to adapt quickly.”

“The Lithuanian Embassy in Italy together with the Italian-Lithuanian Chamber of Commerce is organising two conferences in different Italian regions to present investment opportunities in Lithuania to Italian entrepreneurs.”

An important step in attracting more investments is to raise awareness in Italy of the investment opportunities Lithuania has to offer. Currently, few Italian entrepreneurs are aware of the benefits of the investment environment in Lithuania. Ms Gaižutytė maintains that in order get more Italians interested in the Lithuanian market, it is necessary to pay more attention to the promotion of investment opportunities in Lithuania among Italians. ‘Some Italian businesspeople still have this stereotypical view of Lithuania and see it as a former Soviet country, but those who come here are pleasantly surprised. They see that Lithuania is an advanced, developed and fast-growing country with Nordic work and business ethics. So it is very important that Italian entrepreneurs get more information about the business conditions in Lithuania’, Ms Gaižutytė said.

In order to increase the interest of Italian businesses in the Lithuanian market, the Lithuanian Embassy in Italy together with the Italian-Lithuanian Chamber of Commerce is organising two conferences in different Italian regions to present investment opportunities in Lithuania to Italian entrepreneurs. The next conference will be held on 25 April in Verona, Veneto region, one of Italy’s economically strongest regions. The conference, title ‘The Northeast of Italy meets the Northeast of Europe,’ will be attended by representatives of the Chamber of Commerce in Verona, other business associations, the exhibition centre, Verona Airport, and the mayor of Verona. Presentations will be made by representatives of the government of the Republic of Lithuania, the Lithuanian Ambassador to Italy Jolanta Balčiūnienė, the President of the Italian-Lithuanian Chamber of Commerce, and representatives of the foreign investment development agency Invest Lithuania, Klaipėda FEZ and logistics companies.

Read full article in Lithuanian at lrytas.lt

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Aistė Žebrauskienė
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