December 2, 2012
By: John Presta

Mayor Rahm Emanuel continues to highlight his mission of global outreach and attaining the goal of making Chicago an international city and an international destination. Mayor Emanuel and the Lithuanian Consul General Marijus Gudynas met yesterday to discuss Chicago’s growing cultural and economic partnership with its Lithuanian Sister City of Vilnius. Chicago and Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania, have been Sister Cities since 1993.

“I welcome Consul General Gudynas and am pleased to continue strengthening the relationship between our two cities,” said Mayor Emanuel. “This partnership fuels bilateral economic development and adds to Chicago’s place as a center of the global economy. Chicago is proud to include Lithuanians as part of its diverse community and history and we look forward to many further interactions and opportunities.”

Mayor Emanuel is committed to maintaining and fostering greater dialogue and collaboration between both cities to support mutual economic growth. In the past three years, there has been an 82 percent increase in exports to Lithuania from Chicago and a 72 percent increase in imports from Lithuania to Chicago.

Chicago and Vilnius’ economic success is only strengthened by their deep historical and cultural links. Nicknamed “Little Lithuania,” Chicago is home to the most people of Lithuanian descent anywhere in the world outside of Lithuania. The Balzekas Museum of Lithuanian Culture and the only Lithuanian language daily published abroad, the Draugas newspaper, are located in Chicago.

Major Chicago customs district exports to Lithuania include medical instruments, machinery, computers and electronics. Abbott Laboratories, DraftFCB, Wrigley Jr. Co., Leo Burnett, Havi Global Solutions, Amcor Flexibles, Kraft Foods, McDonald’s, Spraying systems, and Tenneco Automotive are among the Chicago area-based companies with offices in Lithuania.