Lithuania seeks business in PHL

VISITING Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis said on Tuesday that industries back in his country are keen on working with the Philippine business sector, offering their technical know-how on information, communication tech-nology (ICT) and e-governance.

“I think the best thing that we can offer is the experience, the experience for transformation, because other countries are undergoing similar transformation as well,” he told a news briefing in Manila following his meeting with Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Enrique A. Manalo.

“In the field of high value-added economy, in the field of e-governance, in the field of ICT, in the field of optics such as lasers,” he added.

The foreign minister, who is in Philippines until April 25, said that Lithuania would eventually host a Philippine business delegation in the country in a bid to explore new business ventures. Lithuania is also exploring energy solu-tions pacts with Philippines counterparts, he added.

“At this stage we are taking first steps. What we can tell is that the (Lithuanian) businesses are interested,” Mr. Landsbergis told reporters on the sidelines of the briefing. “Because of growth, because of the general European interest, because of more and more European companies are investing in the Philippines.”

Lithuanian nonresident Ambassador to the Philippines Ricardas Slepavicius said in October that his country, which captures 10% of the global market for scientific lasers, would like to work with Philippine universities and scien-tists to produce-high quality laser devices.

Meanwhile, both of the envoys agreed that their countries must work together in ensuring a safe Indo-Pacific especially amid tensions with China in the South China Sea.

“The ministers recognized the importance of an open, inclusive, and resilient Indo-Pacific,” according to their joint statement.

“The two countries regard the final and legally binding award in the South China Sea Arbitration of 12 July 2016 as a significant contribution to international law and the interpretation and application of the UN Convention on the Law on the Sea (UNCLOS),” it added.

The Philippines has been unable to enforce a United Nations-backed arbitration court ruling in 2016 that voided China’s claim to more than 80% of the South China Sea and has since filed hundreds of protests over what it calls encroachment and harassment by China’s coast guard and its vast fishing fleet.

“We need to get together and defend the principles in order to make us stronger, but also to deter others from abusing international rules-based order in the future,” Mr. Landsbergis told reporters. — John Victor D. Ordoñez