Access to and functioning of the market
Member of the European Union and the WTO, Lithuania is a signatory of the Kyoto Protocol, the Washington Convention, the Basel Convention, the Montreal Protocol and the International Coffee Agreement of 2001.
Lithuania has applied the standards of the European Union to its international trade and imports. Thus, the import model is very liberal overall, but certain goods are subject to controls and strict restrictions, such as agricultural products (pursuant to the Common Agricultural Policy).
In general, imports into Lithuania do not require licenses (except for a few categories), but an Intrastat declaration is still required for goods from the European Union. An Entry Summary Declaration is also required to import products into the EU; it was introduced by the World Customs Organization through its SAFE standards for better security and greater control of trade.
For products from a Member State of the European Union, tariffs are zero, which is not the case for extra-Community imports. Industrial products are taxed at 4.2% on average, a relatively low rate compared to the rate for textiles and food industry products, which is 17.3%.
In Lithuania, retail is still very largely provided by small convenience stores and there are a large number of markets. Nevertheless, for several years and following the country’s integration into the European Union, foreign retail outlets have been trying to establish themselves in the country. In terms of the transport of goods, Lithuania has the best maintained roads in this region of Europe, making road transport the primary choice.
The North-South highway and the railway across the country are among the 10 most important roads in Europe, according to the European Transport Commission. On the other hand, the country’s main industrial sectors are communication and information technologies, biotechnology, lasers, electrical equipment, metal processing and paper production. Representing the industrial dynamism of the country, these areas are attracting more and more foreign investors.
Lithuanian law sets the maximum duration of the working day at 8 hours, with a total of 40 hours per week. There are several types of contracts: permanent, fixed-term, seasonal contract, contract for additional and secondary work, for domestic workers and for the provision of a service.
The minimum monthly wage is EUR 231, the retirement age is set at 60 and 62.5 years for women and men respectively. The employer must pay social security contributions set at 31% and the employee pays 3%.
The three most influential unions in Lithuania are the LPSK, the Solidarumas and the DFL; 14% of workers are union members.
|Type of rights||Text of Act||Validity of protection||Agreements signed|
|Patents||The patent law of 1994||20 years|
|Brands||The 2000 Trade Marks Act||10 years, renewable||– Nice Agreement on the International Classification of Goods and Services
– Madrid Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Marks
|Design||2002 Industrial Designs Act||5 years, renewable for a maximum of 25 years|
|Reproduction rights||1999 Law on copyright and related rights||No registration necessary||– WIPO Copyright Treaty|
|Industrial designs||2002 Industrial Designs Act||5 years, renewable for a maximum of 25 years|
– Executive power: held by the President (Dalia Grybauskaite) elected by universal suffrage for five years and the Prime Minister (Algirdas Butkevicius) appointed by the President. The Prime Minister’s term of office is 4 years. The Council of Ministers is appointed by the President.
– Legislative power: held by the Parliament and its 141 members. 71 members are elected by universal suffrage, the others by a college of representative individuals. Members sit in Parliament for 4 years.
Lithuania has several political parties which must form a coalition government because it is not possible for a single party to govern the country alone:
- the GAPDA: for social democracy (Communist roots)
- the VNDS: fairly conservative
- the TS: right-wing
- the DP: for a European market economy
- the Democratic Liberal Party: centre-right