Philippine envoy to Lithuania Ambassador Patricia Ann V. Paez and Lithuania’s Vice Minister of Economy Ms. Rasa Noreikiene discussed trade and investment matters during their meeting in Vilnius on 25 January 2016. Philippine Honorary Consul to Lithuania Atty. David Soloveicikas also participated in the meeting. Vice Minister Noreikiene said that from 2009 to 2014, Lithuania was the fastest growing economy in the European Union (EU) and its GDP is expected to grow by more than 3% next year. It also became a member of the “eurozone” since 01 January 2015 which indicates that it has met the EU’s stringent fiscal and economic standards for prospective “eurozone” members. She also said that Lithuania’s exports have been growing despite Russian sanctions and that its dairy and meat product exports even grew by more than 1% notwithstanding the trade embargo on Lithuanian products by Russia. Noting the dismal amount of bilateral trade between the two countries, Amb. Paez and Vice Minister Noreikiene agreed to work together towards addressing this situation which stem, among others, from lack of information about what each country needs and what the other country can provide. Ambassador Paez informed the Vice Minister about the improvement in the Philippine economy and the decline of the incidence of poverty in the country. She also apprised her about the opportunities for Lithuania with the establishment of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) last December. The envoy stressed that the Philippines’ could serve as Lithuania’s platform to deepen its economic engagement with the nine other member-countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). She likewise informed her that Lithuanian companies can branch out to Southeast Asia by locating in any of the Special Economic Zones being managed by the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA). Ambassador Paez enumerated the fiscal and non-fiscal incentives that PEZA offers. Ambassador Paez and Vice Minister Noreikiene also discussed the possibility of reciprocal business missions between the two countries’ private sectors. In the meantime, they agreed to immediately exchange information and concrete ideas on ways to increase trade relations between the Philippines and Lithuania.