Klaipėda Free Economic Zone
The Klaipėda Free Economic Zone or Klaipėda FEZ (Lithuanian: Klaipėdos laisvoji ekonominė zona) is a free economic zone in Klaipėda, the only port city of Lithuania. It was established in 1996 and offers tax incentives to qualified investors that invest at least 1 million euros. In 2008, due to overcrowding the zone was expanded from 205 hectares (510 acres) to 412 hectares (1,020 acres) of developed land. As of March 2008, before expansion, FEZ had 22 investors: seven were operating, one just finished construction, six were under construction, and others in development stage.
|Corporation tax||15%||0% (first 6 years)
7.5% (following 10 years)
|Real estate tax||1%||0%|
The first steps for the establishment of the zone were undertaken in 1996. In 1997, a management company was selected after reviewing five proposals. The Klaipėda FEZ is managed by Klaipėdos LEZ valdymo bendrovė, a joint stock company. The Baltic Fund, an investment fund, financed by the Rockefeller and Company, Lazard, and investors from Saudi Arabia, owns about 60% of the management company. The remainder shares are owned by city enterprises, municipality and the government of the Lithuanian Republic.
In 1997, one of the first investments to the zone was announced by Penninox, a U.S.-based metallurgical company, to build a US$45-million steel processing plant. However, due to various bureaucratic obstacles, the groundbreaking ceremony took place only in July 2001. However, the company withdrew by 2004. Another set of obstacles was raised during Lithuania's negotiations for accession to the European Union. The FEZ began its activities in December 2001. In 2003, Thailand-based Indorama announced investment of 80 million euros into plastic production factory. To further attract investors to FEZ, Lithuanian-based companies were allowed to participate since 2004. A year later, the FEZ began plans for expansion and further development of its land, requesting assistance from structural funds of the European Union. By the end of 2007, FEZ attracted some 600 million litas of investments.
Within its 412 ha area, companies are provided with specific preferential economic and legal conditions for their production and warehousing operations. An engineering infrastructure has been created and continuously developed in the area in which more than 21.5 million EUR has been invested up to date from the European Union, national and private funds. The Klaipeda FEZ has signed agreements with 21 foreign and Lithuanian companies, and 17 of these have already commenced their activities. Since the start of their operation, these companies have invested more than 411 million EUR in this economic zone. The Klaipėda FEZ is a recognised economic project of national significance.
In 2010, FDI Magazine, published by the Financial Times, ranked the Klaipeda free economic zone as 5th special economic zone in the category Best Facilities, and also was 19th in overall rating of the most attractive special economic zones in the world.
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