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EU Commission appeals to the WTO against Beijing over the Lithuania-China diatribe

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The European Commission announced today, Thursday, January 27, that it has filed an appeal against the Chinese government before the World Trade Organization (Omc) in the diatribe between Lithuania and China. For weeks now, the Chinese regime has been blocking the import-export of goods with the Baltic republic in a discriminatory way after the latter decided to strengthen its ties with Taiwan, against the wishes of Beijing.

The recourse to the WTO is not easy

“Resorting to the WTO is not a step we take lightly – explained the vice-president of the European Commission Valdis Dombrovskis -. However, after repeated failed attempts to resolve the issue bilaterally, we see no other way forward than to request consultations with China within the framework of the WTO. The European Union is determined to act (…) swiftly against measures which (…) threaten the integrity of our single market ”.
In recent weeks, the EU executive has collected numerous clues about the restrictive choices made by the Chinese regime. Among these “discriminatory measures”, the European Commission cites the refusal to clear Lithuanian goods, the refusal to consider import requests from Lithuania, and recurrent Chinese pressure on European companies to remove Lithuanian goods from their supply chains. production when exporting to China.

The concession of Vilnius in Taipei

The political-trade dispute erupted after Vilnius allowed Taipei to open a representative office in Lithuania allowing this to refer not to the capital Taipei but to the country, Taiwan. The choice unnerved Beijing, which does not recognize the separatist island.
The Taiwanese government has other representative offices in Europe, but these in their official wording use the name of the capital and not the country. Beijing on its behavior. If this phase ends after 60 days without a positive result, Brussels can request the creation of an arbitration body which will decide on the merits. “It wasn’t easy to find evidence and clues. Many of the companies interviewed did not want to speak publicly, ”notes a community official.

Explanations from Lithuania

In recent days, the Lithuanian president Gitanas Nauseda he admitted that the name issue “was a mistake” on Vilnius’ part. In response, the Lithuanian Foreign Ministry publicly explained that the choice had been coordinated with the presidency of the Republic.
In an article published last Saturday, The Global Times, a newspaper close to the Chinese regime, explained that Lithuania “will have to do more than change the name of the representative office to resolve the issue”. In an attempt to respond to coercive measures in the trade field, Brussels last month presented a bill that provides for special defense measures.
Meanwhile, in order to meet Vilnius, Taiwan has promised the Baltic country investments for 200 million dollars (about 175 million euros). Lithuanian exports to China represent 2% of total European exports to the Asian country – Germany accounts for almost 18%.

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