PH-Lithuania ties in IT-BPM, digital technology, energy eyed

Trade and Industry Secretary Alfredo E. Pascual said the Philippines is vying for stronger economic ties with Lithuania in the information technology and business process management (IT-BPM), digital technology and energy sectors. 

Pascual met with visiting Lithuanian Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis, Ambassador Ričardas Šlepavičius, and their whole business and government delegation during the Management Association of the Philippines (MAP) dialogue with the Lithuanian delegation on April 25 in Taguig City. 

During their meeting, Pascual remarked on Lithuania's “prowess in digital technology,” particularly in software development, finance technology, and cybersecurity.” 

“The Philippine digital market, one of Southeast Asia's fastest-growing, presents a fertile ground for collaboration. We are particularly interested in how Lithuanian technologies can help us improve e-governance and digital literacy, which are vital for our digital economy's expansion,” he said.  

“Similarly, in the energy sector, Lithuania's transition towards renewable energy sources and sustainable practices sets a benchmark we aim to emulate. The Philippines is pursuing enhancing our renewable energy capabilities to ensure energy security and sustainability. Your expertise in developing advanced energy solutions, including wind and solar technologies, is very interesting to us,” he added. 

Pascual emphasized the efficient synergies that can be brought by Lithuania's assistance in the IT-BPM sector, stating his confidence that “investors can rely on our young and talented Filipino workforce and our rich natural resources. The Philippines' strategic location provides easy access to key markets.”

The Trade Secretary noted that the Philippines and Lithuania enjoy surging bilateral trade, which is supported by the country's 5.6 percent gross domestic product (GDP) growth rate and P1.47 trillion approved investments recorded by Investment Promotion Agencies (IPAs) to date, projecting the country to become a $1 trillion economy by 2033. 

He said there is substantial growth in Lithuanian imports driven by aerospace and pharmaceutical sectors, while the Philippines also exports electronics and agricultural goods to Lithuania, with increased shipments seen for carrageenan and seaweed. 

Lithuania ranks as the 42nd out of 230 trading partner countries of the Philippines. In 2023, their bilateral merchandise exports amount to $9.67 million while imports are valued at $214.12 million. 

Around 29 percent of the Philippines’ exports to Lithuania are pedals and crank-gear of bicycles valued at $2.81 million while carrageenan, seaweeds and other algae make up a 24.16 percent share at $2.34 million. 13 percent of the share at $1.28 million are exports of other parts not including rubber tires, engines, or electric parts, 11.24 percent at $1.09 million are exports of watches manufactured from consigned materials, and 5.1 percent at $490,000 are digital monolithic integrated circuits. 

Meanwhile, Lithuanian imports are primarily made of airplanes and other aircrafts with a 90 percent share at $192.72 million, followed by the 3.85 percent share at $8.24 million exports vaccines for human medicine. 

According to DTI's data, it aims to promote products in five categories to Lithuania. These include electronic equipment (integrated circuits, computer data storage units, photosensitive semiconductor devices, etc.), fruits (bananas, fresh or dried), vegetable oils and fats (crude coconut oil), machinery and electricity (static, converters), and food products (pineapples, prepared or preserved). 

No foreign direct investments (FDIs) have been approved from Lithuania in 2019  to 2023, said to DTI, but the net FDIs from Lithuania as of 2022 stood at $12.84 billion. Despite this, Pascual remains optimistic that investments can be gained from enhancing ties. 

“With its strategic location in Asia, the Philippines serves as a gateway to ASEAN markets. We are committed to embracing innovation and are keen on supporting foreign investments that drive technological advancements and sustainable practices,” said Pascual.