The Lithuanian meat and dairy industry are also pushing for increased diplomatic representation in the Gulf States and North Africa to promote Lithuanian produce. Food companies see a big opportunity in Persian Gulf countries – in particular the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Oman – and North Africa, but there is only a single Lithuanian embassy in the whole region in Egypt.
“Lithuania is represented in Persian Gulf and North African countries by the only embassy in Egypt, it is physically impossible to cover such a wide geography, especially to operatively provide assistance on economic issues. While business are making huge efforts to establish contacts with local partners, it is not enough – some specific issues, such as certification and standardization must be resolved through bilateral international decisions. Therefore, as long as there are no diplomatic missions in any of the Gulf states – we can only dream about Lithuanian milk and meat product exports making a breakthrough in the region,” said Egidijus Simonis, the head of the Pieno centras.
Food companies also pointed out that Lithuania has not delegated responsibilities to one government office to coordinate the export of Lithuanian products. They believe that South American and Asian countries also present big opportunities for growing exports.
The meeting was organized at the Ministry of Economy following an initiative of Lithuanian milk and meat processors, where it was decided to organise a joint working group to develop a strategy.