24,000 bottles of rum later, TTL targets long-term Lithuania ties

Taiwan’s state-run Tobacco and Liquor Corp. (TTL), which has purchased a shipment of 24,000 bottles of Lithuania dark rum rejected by China, said Tuesday that it would not rule out the possibility of setting up long-term business ties with the Baltic state.


TTL Chairman Ting Yen-che (丁彥哲) told CNA that many Taiwanese consumers have expressed strong interest to his company in buying dark rum from Lithuania soon after the firm announced on Monday that it would receive the shipment denied entry into the China market.


Ting said as long as dark rum from Lithuania has a warm reception in Taiwan, TTL will be glad to kick off long-term business cooperation with Lithuania on a reciprocal basis, also expecting to sell its products to the Baltic state.


On Monday, TTL said it had decided to purchase a shipment of Lithuanian dark rum blocked at customs from entering China amid growing economic sanctions on the Baltic state from Beijing.


According to Ting, TTL was informed by the Ministry of Finance in mid-December that Lithuania’s MV Group Production was denied entry of a shipment of 24,000 bottles of dark rum into the China market.


In the first place, Ting said, TTL made contacts with MV Group and studied the possibility of rerouting the shipment to Taiwan. The two companies soon signed an online purchase agreement with the Lithuanian supplier, a way for Taiwan to help the Baltic state to resolve its difficulties after China’s denial.


Soon after striking the deal, Ting said, TTL started to produce Chinese labels, cartons, and bags for the dark rum packaging ahead of Monday’s announcement.


Ting said as chocolate and beers produced in Lithuania had enjoyed a warm reception among Taiwanese consumers in recent days, TTL expected that the company would also be able to market the shipment of dark rum well.


Ting said the shipment of dark rum was scheduled to arrive in Taiwan Sunday and hit the store shelves by the end of this month at the earliest.


“Many people in Taiwan have been developing a good feeling toward Lithuania,” Ting said, referring to a recent increase in exchange between the two countries.


Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Lithuania last year donated a total of 260,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine to Taiwan.


In November, Taiwan opened its representative office in Vilnius as part of a reciprocal deal the two nations reached in August, which will also see Lithuania open a representative office in Taipei early this year.


Liao Chih-chien (廖志堅), vice president of TTL, said the shipment of dark rum will be used to test the waters in the Taiwan market, where white rum is often seen in stores used for making cocktails or bread. On the other hand, consumers can drink dark rum directly, Liao added.


Liao said TTL would mull introducing other kinds of liquors from Lithuania in the future.


Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel

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