This year is the 100th anniversary of Lithuanian independence, and millions of Lithuanians are celebrating.
But independence isn’t the only thing Lithuanians have to celebrate. Since the fall of the Soviet Union, economic freedom in Lithuania has grown by leaps and bounds—it is now ranked as one of the 20 freest economies in the world in The Heritage Foundation’s Index of Economic Freedom.
When Lithuania first appeared in the index in 1996, it scored only 49.7 on the Index’s 0 to 100 scale, and it was deemed “economically repressed.” This year, by contrast, Lithuania scored 75.3, earning a “mostly free” rating.
Since 2000, Lithuania’s economy has almost doubled in size, due in large part to measures like tax cuts, which cut rates by half, as well as the lowering of tariffs. Both individual and corporate tax rates now sit at a flat 15 percent, and average tariffs have dropped from 10 percent in 1996 to just 1.6 percent in 2017.
In his recent visit to The Heritage Foundation, Lithuanian Minister of the Economy Virginijus Sinkevicius touted these achievements and pledged to pursue further reforms to make his country one of the most innovation-friendly in the world.
Lithuania’s newfound freedom has also benefited the U.S. In 2017, Lithuania became the first former Soviet country to receive a shipment of liquefied natural gas from the United States. This achievement is both politically desirable and economically fruitful for both countries.
With all of these improvements, Lithuania truly does have good reason to celebrate—not just its national independence, but its economic prosperity as well.