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Lithuania is a member of the European Union and the biggest economy among three Baltic states. GDP per capita reached USD 17,800 in 2008 and was higher than the ones of all its neighbors – Latvia, Poland, Russia and Belarus. GDP per capita in Lithuania is 70% above the world’s average of USD 10,500. Lithuania has a favorable legislative basis for business as the country is ranked the 3rd in the region of Eastern Europe and Central Asia and the 26th in the world by the Ease of Doing Business Index prepared by the World Bank Group . Lithuania is ranked the 30th out of 179 countries in the Index of Economic Freedom, measured by The Heritage Foundation. According to the Human Development Report 2009, Lithuania belongs to the group of high human development countries. Having moved away from central planning system in the late 1980s, in 1990, Lithuania was the first to break away from the Soviet Union and become an independent capitalist economy. Lithuania soon implemented liberal reforms and became one of the fastest growing countries in the world last decade, as GDP growth rate was positive 9 years in a row till 2009. It enjoyed high growth rates after entering the European Union along with other Baltic states, leading to the notion of a Baltic Tiger. Current excellent telecommunication infrastructure and well-educated, multilingual workforce give the possibility to provide high quality business services and produce manufacturing products worldwide. In 2005 the GDP grew by 7.5% and the inflation rate was 3%. GDP growth reached its height in 2007, increasing by 8.9%. Lithuania was the last among the Baltic states to be hit by the economic crisis because its GDP growth rate in 2008 was still positive. In the third quarter of 2009, compared to the previous quarter, GDP grew again by 6.9% after 5 quarters with negative numbers. Rebound in Lithuania’s economy in the third quarter was the fastest in the EU. In the last quarter of 2009 Lithuanian economy rose moderately by 0.1%, however the Finance Ministry of Lithuania forecasts that Lithuania’s economy will keep growing by 1.6 % in 2010 and by 3.2 % in 2011.

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