Ambassador Hall’s Remarks at the American Chamber of Commerce in Lithuania Christmas Gala
Saturday, December 8, 2018
Vilnius Grand Resort
Dear Chamber members, guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Happy holidays! I am pleased to join you this evening for this festive gala, to celebrate the season and all of the AmCham’s accomplishments over the last year.
As the voice of American business in Lithuania, advocating for American interests, values, and aspirations, I want to thank Tadas, Zivile, and everyone associated with the American Chamber of Commerce in Lithuania. I deeply appreciate your hard work to promote stronger business ties between our countries. I would also like to extend my congratulations to the AmCham as it celebrates its 25th anniversary this year. I can’t wait to see what you will accomplish in the next 25 years!
The business community that this organization represents is a reflection of everything that Lithuania has achieved since regaining its independence 100 years ago – a free market economy, an independent press, an innovative and forward-looking private sector, and strong Western values.
As many in this room know, I was here in Vilnius as the Deputy Chief of Mission from 2010-2013, just after the economic crisis. Returning to Lithuania three years later, I was struck by how much progress this country had made in such a short period of time. You have done so much, so fast; that it is astounding.
One such accomplishment, Lithuania’s accession to the OECD this past spring, welcomes you to a very exclusive club of the most developed nations in the world. Lithuania has rightfully earned its spot in this club, and I know the AmCham and its members helped support the government’s efforts to reach this milestone. I hope that Lithuania’s newly minted status will help attract new investments and stimulate even stronger economic growth in the country.
In the United States, entrepreneurship continues to drive innovation as new startups and innovation hubs spread from the Silicon Valley to the U.S. heartland. A similar start-up trend can be seen here as businesses take advantage of Lithuania’s competitive, fair market and high-quality workforce.
This past year, Providence Equity Partners purchased Modern Times Group. Digital marketing firm Bazaarvoice opened in Vilnius. Software development company Unify Square will also open a new Network Operations Center in Vilnius. U.S. manufacturer INTUS Windows plans to create 600 jobs at its new facility in Šiauliai. And, of course, Luminor was purchased by Blackstone.
The fact that you see so many U.S. companies established here – and that number is growing by the day – is a testament to the extraordinary business climate that Lithuania has created.
I look forward to working with all of you to ensure that the many benefits U.S. companies bring – strong corporate governance, technology and know-how, and social responsibility – are visible and recognized.
I am delighted to be spending this evening with you — and to visiting with the many friends I see in the room. There is so much in the U.S.-Lithuanian relationship to celebrate this year!!
With that, I would like to wish you all a joyous holiday season and a successful new year.