If stepped-up checks of Lithuanian trucks at the Russian border remain in place for an extended period of time, Lithuania’s transport sector would suffer substantial losses, which may hit hard the entire national economy, the economists have warned, adding that new Russia’s restrictions will undermine Lithuania’s competitive edge in the region, as far as re-exports of goods from the West to Russia are concerned.
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“The haulers were that sector, which was initially the most vulnerable to Russia’s sanctions. However, recently they have adjusted to those changes quite well. Now the situation is getting more complicated and the haulers will have to look for some other arguments since it would be rather difficult to expect our transportation of goods to the East to recover any time soon in the current context,” Gitanas Nausėda, an adviser to SEB Bankas president, told BNS.

Earlier pessimistic forecast of SEB Bankas, which said that the losses of the transport sector alone might reach up to 0.5 percent of GDP as a result of Russia’s sanctions, might actually come true, he said. However, Nausėda still expects these losses not to exceed 0.5 percent.

Indrė Genytė-Pikčienė, chief analyst with DNB Bankas, told BNS that Lithuania would lose its competitive edge versus other countries of the region due to Russia’s restrictions.

“What is really a matter of concern is that Lithuania spoils its image, as a re-exporter, and, accordingly, loses competition with other Central and Eastern European countries. That corridor of goods was very convenient for us and now we are becoming less attractive for the suppliers of goods since those measures are targeted against Lithuania,” she told BNS.

According to Genytė-Pikčienė, transport services provided to Russia last year accounted for 28 percent of Lithuania’s total exports of transport services.

A representative of the Lithuanian Industrialists’ Confederation agreed that stepped-up checks of Lithuanian trucks at the Russian border might affect the national economy.

According to Sigitas Besagirskas, transport sector provided nearly 10 percent of the country’s GDP and was second only to industry’s contribution to the national output.

Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevičius said in a radio interview on Tuesday that new obstacles that Russia was creating by subjecting Lithuanian vehicles to thorough checks at the border might cause problems to the country's economy.

BNS
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