Lithuanian meat producers claim they are ready to export their production to the United States, the market which was opened by its institutions to the Baltic country earlier this week.
"We have been waiting for long time and we are happy to have a new huge market," Virginijus Kantauskas, CEO of Biovela Group, said in an interview with local business news website vz.lt.
According to Kantauskas, the company has been keeping in contact with possible partners in the United States for some time.
"Everybody was expecting this market to open," Kantauskas noted.
"The market is very interesting and we have already had a few contacts there, including some potential clients, however, we could not cooperate so far, due to the lack of certificate harmonization," Gintaras Valancius, director of Klaipedos Mesine, was quoted by vz.lt.
Lithuanian producers plan to export processed products, such as cold and hot smoked meat, boiled products, ready-to-eat meat snacks.
Until Lithuanian meat exports reach the U.S. market, Lithuanian companies will have to adapt to a few formalities, including specific food marking requirements. The procedures might take from few months up to one year, producers believe.
Lithuania's overall exports to the United States amounted to 886.4 million euros (about 993 million U.S. dollars) in 2014, Lithuania Statistics data shows.
The Lithuanian State Food and Veterinary Service received information about the United States opening its market to Lithuanian meat producers.
In the words of Jonas Milius, director of the food market regulator, Lithuania is one of the first countries in the European Union (EU) agreeing on the broadest exports of meat production.
Moreover, Lithuania is just the second country in the EU, receiving permission to export beef production to the United States.
Ireland has been the only country in the EU allowed exporting beef to the United States since bovine spongiform encephalopathy struck Europe in 1999.
Lithuanian Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevicius praised the country's achievement amid efforts to diversify Lithuania's exports after Russia's food imports ban in 2014.
"I am happy with a great achievement during this difficult period for our farmers, since traditional Eastern market has been shut due to embargo policy," Butkevicius said.
His stance was echoed by Lithuanian Agriculture Minister Virginija Baltraitiene.
"This is good news; a new, promising and wealthy market has opened to Lithuanian meat producers," she was quoted as saying by ELTA news agency.
"Our products are of high quality, therefore American consumers will indeed like them," Baltraitiene added.
Lithuania's Ministry of Economy said earlier this week that the country successfully strives towards exports diversification, with a complex of measures being implemented.
According to the ministry, Lithuanian food products were recently presented during few exhibitions and other events in Japan, as well as in India.
Food experts' missions from China and Iran visited the Baltic country to assess its measures of food control.
Tunisia confirmed certificate for Lithuania to export beef products, while Morocco gave an official green light to Lithuanian cattle exports to the country, with certificates to be harmonized in the nearest future, the Ministry of Economy said in a statement.
The Lithuanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs is continuously working through its economy attache services in the embassies to explore Lithuanian food exports opportunities to Denmark, Brazil, Georgia, Belgium, Macedonia and other potential markets.