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Inversió estrangera directa (IED) a Lituània

FDI in Figures

FDI flows to Lithuania have been fluctuating over the last decade, firstly due to the global financial crisis then to the regional crisis involving Russia and Ukraine, following a trend that is observed in other Baltic countries. According to UNCTAD's 2021 World Investment Report, FDI flows decreased from USD 1.2 billion to USD 479 million between 2019 and 2020, as a result of the global economic crisis triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic. The total stock of FDI stood at USD 23.7 billion at the end of 2020. Foreign direct investment stocks are concentrated in the financial and insurance services, manufacturing, real estate, wholesale, retail sectors and IT services. Sweden remains the country's main investor (concentrated in the energy sector), followed by the Netherlands, Estonia, Cyprus and Germany (OECD). Data from the Bank of Lithuania shows that in the first three quarters of 2021 cumulative FDI inflows rose by 4.1% over the year and amounted to EUR 24.8 billion (or 46.4% of GDP). Germany, Sweden, Estonia and the Netherlands were the main investors. The largest share of FDI was destined to companies active in financial and insurance services (EUR 9.6 billion), manufacturing (EUR 3.5 billion), wholesale and retail trade as well as repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles (EUR 2.7 billion) and real estate transactions (EUR 2.4 billion).

Lithuania offers tax exemptions to foreign companies, which can also profit from high-quality infrastructure and a skilled workforce. In recent years, building permits were facilitated, access to electricity was improved, minority investors were better protected and the tax payment system became electronic. Furthermore, national legislation assures equal protection for both foreign and domestic investors. However, the country is still dependent on its exports towards Russia, hence vulnerable to external shocks, its domestic market is small and the income is lower than neighbouring countries. Lithuania improved its position and ranked 11th out of 190 economies in World Bank’s latest Doing Business report (from the 14th place of the previous edition). Recently, Lithuania strengthened the national security review mechanism to align it with the EU FDI Screening Regulation. Amid other changes, it extended the list of companies and entities considered relevant for national security to include radioactive waste companies, 5G service providers and infrastructure developers, secure public data networks, public safety and emergency services, digital mobile radio communication network operators and selected power generation companies.

Foreign Direct Investment 201920202021
FDI Inward Flow (million USD) 3,0223,4922,053
FDI Stock (million USD) 23,24529,37429,396
Number of Greenfield Investments* 716653
Value of Greenfield Investments (million USD) 1,9311,0942,076

Source: UNCTAD, Latest available data

Note: * Greenfield Investments are a form of Foreign Direct Investment where a parent company starts a new venture in a foreign country by constructing new operational facilities from the ground up.

Country Comparison For the Protection of Investors Lithuania Eastern Europe & Central Asia United States Germany
Index of Transaction Transparency* 7.0 7.5 7.0 5.0
Index of Manager’s Responsibility** 4.0 5.0 9.0 5.0
Index of Shareholders’ Power*** 7.0 6.8 9.0 5.0

Source: Doing Business, Latest available data

Note: *The Greater the Index, the More Transparent the Conditions of Transactions. **The Greater the Index, the More the Manager is Personally Responsible. *** The Greater the Index, the Easier it Will Be For Shareholders to Take Legal Action.

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What to consider if you invest in Lithuania

Strong Points

The main strengths of Lithuania are:

  • A democratic and stable political system.
  • Growth among the highest in the European Union (4.3% in 2019 - Eurostat) based on a diversified economy.
  • Quality transport infrastructure with one of the most developed road networks in the region.
  • Good international relations (member of the European Union since 2004 and NATO) giving it good access to international markets.
  • An investor-friendly business environment as evidenced by its 11th place in the World Bank's Doing Business 2020 ranking. The tax rate for companies is low and Lithuanian legislation offers foreign and Lithuanian investors the same protections.
  • Stable and healthy public and external accounts.
  • Highly skilled (4th highest in the EU with  55.2% of young people aged 25 to 34 having a higher education diploma - Eurostat, 2019) and motivated labour force.
Weak Points

The country has a number of weaknesses:

  • The attractiveness of the domestic market moderated by the level of income of Lithuania which remains below the average of the European states. This implies a readjustment of the selling price of the products.
  • The high rate of emigration of Lithuanians to other European countries, making skilled labour more and more difficult to find.
  • The bureaucracy is relatively inefficient. The risks of corruption and lack of transparency in some parts of the economy are hindering the development of the country and can discourage potential investors.
  • High dependence on exports to Russia and emerging countries making the economy vulnerable to external shocks.
  • High external debt.
  • A strong income gap between the capital and the other regions, especially in the northeast where poverty is widespread.
  • Erosion of competitiveness due to low productivity gains.
Government Measures to Motivate or Restrict FDI
Lithuania's laws ensure equal treatment of foreigners and domestic investors. No special permit from government authorities is necessary to invest foreign capital in Lithuania. Apart from a few exceptions, nearly all sectors of the economy are freely accessible. To encourage investment, the government has also created seven Free Economic Zones (FEZs) with tax benefits and one-stop-shop services.

In recent years, various measures have also been taken to protect minority investors and facilitate administrative procedures (the payment of taxes and social contributions is now done online).

Bilateral investment conventions signed by Lithuania
Lithuania has signed 55 bilateral investment treaties. For more details consult this link.

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Actualitzacions: January 2023

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