The U.S. and Lithuania share a history as valued allies and strong partners. The United States established diplomatic relations with Lithuania in 1922, following its declaration of independence during World War I. Lithuania was annexed by the Soviet Union in 1940 during World War II. In 1990, Lithuania proclaimed its renewed independence, and international recognition followed. The United States never recognized the forcible incorporation of Lithuania into the Soviet Union, and it views the present Government of Lithuania as the legal continuation of the interwar republic.
Since Lithuania regained its independence, the United States has worked closely with the country to help it rebuild its democratic institutions and a market economy. The U.S. welcomed Lithuania’s accession to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the European Union (EU) in 2004. As a NATO Ally and EU member, Lithuania has become a strong, effective partner committed to democratic principles and values. The country is a strong supporter of U.S. objectives in the area of democracy promotion and has helped the people of other young European nations develop and strengthen civil institutions.
U.S. Assistance to Lithuania
The United States helps improve Lithuania’s defense and security infrastructure and build defense capacity through the European Reassurance Initiative (ERI) and Foreign Military Financing. Lithuania received over $30 million worth of equipment through 2015 ERI funds. The United States recently increased the amount of Foreign Military Financing for Lithuania to more than $9 million in 2016. Both of these funds help Lithuania increase the NATO interoperability of its forces, boost its self-defense capacity, and improve its border security. Lithuania also receives about $1.2 million annually in International Military Education and Training assistance, which provides U.S. professional military training to Lithuania’s next generation of military leaders.
Bilateral Economic Relations
Lithuania is a dynamic European economy with growing commercial opportunities for U.S. businesses. The United States is Lithuania’s 7th largest trading partner, with more than USD1.5 billion in total trade in 2015. Steps undertaken during the country’s accession to the EU and NATO helped improve its legal, tax, and customs systems, which aided economic and commercial sector development. Lithuania ranked 20 (out of 189 countries) in the 2016 World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Report. The United States and Lithuania have signed an agreement on bilateral trade and intellectual property protection and a bilateral investment treaty. Lithuania participates in the Visa Waiver Program, which allows nationals of participating countries to travel to the United States for certain business or tourism purposes for stays of 90 days or less without obtaining a visa.
Lithuania’s Membership in International Organizations
Lithuania and the United States belong to a number of the same international organizations, including the United Nations, North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, International Monetary Fund, World Bank, and World Trade Organization. During Lithuania’s 2014-2015 tenure on the UN Security Council, it chaired the Council’s Committees on Counterterrorism and Central African Republic Sanctions. Lithuania has also begun the accession process to join the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.
On December 19, 2019, the U.S. Senate confirmed Robert S. Gilchrist as the 10th U.S. ambassador to Lithuania and the 15th chief of mission since 1922. Other principal embassy officials are listed in the Department’s Key Officers List.
Lithuania maintains an embassy in the United States at 2622 16th Street NW, Washington, DC 20009.