From Vermont to Vanuatu, everyone wants to be a ‘financial jurisdiction’ in order to attract large sums of money, and to provide jobs in the financial sector for their population. This has been going on from the days of Cayman to Hong Kong. Today, the Baltics are all the new rage, with Estonia pushing to be an e-nation, and now Lithuania looking to be known for ‘fintech’ or financial technology. They also wants some of China’s money.
In the meeting of heads of Governments of China and the Central and Eastern European countries 16+1, wherein Lithuania was represented by Vilius Šapoka, the Minister of Finance, it was agreed to establish a financial technologies coordination centre of 16+1 format in Vilnius and to organize high-level fintech conference in 2019.
“On this occasion I would like to thank all 16+1 countries for their expressed evaluation of and support to the Lithuanian initiative. It is a perfect example that China and Central and Eastern European countries are linked by common interests, i.e. creation of attractive environment for financial innovations and promotion of development of innovative business. Having established the fintech coordination centre, we shall not only increase awareness of Lithuania, as a fintech country, worldwide and get more investment and new job places. By this, we shall also create opportunities for sharing of the newest knowledge on innovations and measures assuring financial stability, fight against money laundering and terrorism financing, cyber security and consumer protection,“ Vilius Šapoka, the Minister of Finance, spoke in the summit, reported The Baltic Times.
In accordance with V. Šapoka, the Minister of Finance, 16+1 format shall strengthen bilateral relations between Lithuania and China. We are ready for close cooperation in the area of financial services, especially that of financial technologies. Lithuanian wants to become a gateway for financial services of China to Europe and is ready to undertake a role of the leader.
Tsarizm has written a great deal about Chinese influence growing in the Balkans and Eastern Europe, where Beijing is building infrastructure and loaning lots of money. All of this comes with strings of course, usually in the form of Chinese control and theft of intellectual property and technology.
It will be interesting to watch, in the age of Trump, if China will continue to push into regions such as NATO and the underbelly of Europe.