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In this page: FDI in Figures | What to consider if you invest in Lithuania | Procedures Relative to Foreign Investment | Investment Opportunities

 

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 201820192020
FDI Inward Flow (million USD) 9771,169479
FDI Stock (million USD) 19,41820,85523,709
Number of Greenfield Investments* 917166
Value of Greenfield Investments (million USD) 2,0341,9311,081

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.

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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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Procedures Relative to Foreign Investment

Freedom of Establishment
Freedom of establishment is guaranteed. Foreign entities are allowed to establish branches or representatives offices; there are no limits on foreign ownership or control.
Acquisition of Holdings
A majority holding interest in the capital of a local company is legal in Lithuania.
Obligation to Declare
There are no particular regulations or obligations to declare for foreign investment. However, there are some areas of the economy where investment is limited (investment in sectors related to the security and defence of the State, licensing is necessary for activities related to human life, health and which are potentially risky, non-Lithuanians are generally not able to buy agricultural or forestry land).
Competent Organisation For the Declaration
Invest Lithuania
Enterprise Lithuania
Requests For Specific Authorisations
Licensing is necessary for activities related to human life and health.

Find out more about Investment Service Providers in Lithuania on GlobalTrade.net, the Directory for International Trade Service Providers.

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Investment Opportunities

Investment Aid Agency
Invest Lithuania
Tenders, Projects and Public Procurement
Tenders Info, Tenders in Lithuania
Globaltenders, Tenders & Projects from Lithuania
DgMarket, Tenders Worldwide
Other Useful Resources
Ministry of Economy
 
 

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Find out more about Investment Service Providers in Lithuania on GlobalTrade.net, the Directory for International Trade Service Providers.

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Latest Update: April 2022