Tue, 24 May 2022

Brussels [Belgium], January 28 (ANI): The European Union has launched a case at the World Trade Organization (WTO) against China over its discriminatory trade practices against Lithuania, which it says are also hitting other exports from the EU's Single Market.

The 27 member bloc in a statement said that these actions are harming exporters both in Lithuania and elsewhere in the EU, as they also target products with Lithuanian content exported from other EU countries.

As attempts to resolve this bilaterally have failed, the EU has resorted to initiating dispute settlement proceedings against China, the statement added.

"Launching a WTO case is not a step we take lightly. However, after repeated failed attempts to resolve the issue bilaterally, we see no other way forward than to request WTO dispute settlement consultations with China. The EU is determined to act as one and act fast against measures in breach of WTO rules, which threaten the integrity of our Single Market. We are in parallel pursuing our diplomatic efforts to deescalate the situation," said Executive Vice-President and Commissioner for Trade, Valdis Dombrovskis.

From December last year, China began to heavily restrict or de facto block imports from and exports to Lithuania, or linked to Lithuania. The Commission has repeatedly raised the matter with the Chinese authorities.

The European Commission said it has built up evidence of the various types of Chinese restrictions. "These include a refusal to clear Lithuanian goods through customs, rejection of import applications from Lithuania, and pressuring EU companies operating out of other EU Member States to remove Lithuanian inputs from their supply chains when exporting to China," the commission said.

Responding to the WTO case, Beijing said so-called China's "coercion" of Lithuania is groundless and distorts facts.

"The problem between China and Lithuania is a political not an economic one. They were caused by Lithuania's acts in bad faith that hurt China's interests, not China's pressure on Lithuania," said Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian at a press conference. (ANI)

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