EU takes China to WTO over Lithuania trade dispute

Dec 6, 2022, 1:00 PM | Updated: Dec 7, 2022, 3:38 am
FILE - The closed Lithuanian Embassy is seen in Beijing, on Dec. 16, 2021. The European Union has a...

FILE - The closed Lithuanian Embassy is seen in Beijing, on Dec. 16, 2021. The European Union has announced that it has begun legal action at the World Trade Organization against China over what it says are import restrictions Beijing has imposed on Lithuania. The European Commission estimates that China has cut trade from Lithuania by 80% this year. It followed the Baltic state breaking with diplomatic custom in 2021 by letting the Taiwanese office in Vilnius bear the name Taiwan, instead of Chinese Taipei. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)

(AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)

BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union announced Wednesday that it has begun legal action at the World Trade Organization against China over what it says are import restrictions Beijing has imposed on Lithuania.

The European Commission estimates that China cut trade from the EU member country by 80% this year after Lithuania broke with diplomatic custom in 2021 by allowing a Taiwanese office in Vilnius to bear the name Taiwan, instead of Chinese Taipei, which most other countries use to avoid offending Beijing.

China considers Taiwan to be part of its territory with no right to diplomatic recognition, and Lithuania’s move infuriated Beijing, which withdrew its ambassador to Vilnius and expelled the Lithuanian ambassador to Beijing. The Baltic state has since closed its embassy in Beijing.

The commission, which handles trade on behalf of the EU’s 27 member countries, said it is taking WTO action because “China has applied discriminatory and coercive measures against exports from Lithuania and against exports of EU products containing Lithuanian content.”

China said it regrets the EU move, which also includes a second dispute about European companies’ rights over their high-tech patents.

“China has always managed foreign trade in a manner consistent with WTO rules, continued to strengthen the protection of intellectual property rights, and strived to create a favorable environment for innovation and business operations,” the Ministry of Commerce said in a statement.

The EU’s executive branch, however, said Chinese customs authorities have rejected a number of Lithuanian imports and had “suddenly formalized complete import bans on alcohol, beef, dairy, logs, and peat shipped from Lithuania.” It said Beijing has used food and animal health reasons for doing so.

Prior to this year, Lithuania exported around 200 million euros ($210 million) worth of produce to China annually.

The commission is particularly concerned about the impact on the entire European market because China’s measures might discourage companies from doing business with Lithuania to avoid having restrictions placed on their own products.

Dissatisfied with Beijing’s response to its questions, the commission has requested the establishment of a WTO panel to hear the dispute. It expects its request to be heard on Dec. 20 or in late January. It could take a year before any decision is handed down from the governing body for world trade.

Brussels also requested a second WTO panel over another dispute with China. It concerns the legality of Beijing restricting EU companies that hold high-tech patents from accessing European courts to protect and enforce their rights.

“The Chinese side regrets the European side’s decision,” the Ministry of Commerce said. “China will properly handle the relevant request raised by the EU in accordance with the WTO dispute settlement procedures, and resolutely safeguard its legitimate rights and interests.”

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

FILE - Signage outside PayPal headquarters in San Jose, Calif., is pictured on March 10, 2015. PayP...
Associated Press

PayPal to cut 2,000 jobs in latest tech company cost-cutting

PayPal said Tuesday it will trim about 7% of its total workforce, or about 2,000 full-time workers
11 hours ago
Associated Press

Passengers disarm gunman who killed DC employee, shot others

WASHINGTON (AP) — An armed man shot three people, killing one, in a Wednesday morning rampage in the nation’s capital that started on a city bus and ended in a Metro tunnel after passengers attacked and disarmed him. Authorities were still piecing together the chaotic series of events that left two people with gunshot wounds […]
1 day ago
FILE - Michael Cohen, former President Donald Trump's longtime personal lawyer, arrives at Federal ...
Associated Press

Cohen says DA took phones for renewed Trump hush-money probe

NEW YORK (AP) — Donald Trump’s long-estranged former lawyer and fixer, Michael Cohen, says Manhattan prosecutors recently took his cellphones to preserve evidence related to a hush-money payment he made to porn actress Stormy Daniels in the waning weeks of the 2016 presidential campaign. The payment to Daniels, which Cohen says was intended to buy […]
1 day ago
FILE - Nathan Chasing Horse attends the South Dakota premiere of the HBO film "Bury My Heart at Wou...
Associated Press

‘Dances With Wolves’ actor to be charged with sex assault

LAS VEGAS (AP) — A former “Dances With Wolves” actor accused of leading a cult could be facing multiple felonies and life in prison after police said he sexually assaulted young Indigenous girls and took multiple wives during a period spanning two decades, court records show. As of Wednesday, Nathan Lee Chasing His Horse, who […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Ex-ABC journalist charged with child pornography offense

A well-known former investigative journalist for ABC News has been arrested on a charge of “transporting” images depicting the sexual abuse of children, the Department of Justice said on Wednesday. James Gordon Meek, 53, of Arlington, Virginia, was arrested Tuesday, months after his home was searched by federal authorities. Authorities found images of children engaged […]
1 day ago
This is a locator map for Afghanistan with its capital, Kabul. (AP Photo)...
Associated Press

Taliban asks Pakistan not to blame them for violence at home

ISLAMABAD (AP) — Afghanistan’s Taliban-appointed foreign minister Wednesday asked Pakistani authorities to look for the reasons behind militant violence in their country instead of blaming Afghanistan. The comments from Amir Khan Muttaqi came two days after Pakistani officials said the attackers who orchestrated Monday’s suicide bombing that killed 101 people in northwest Pakistan staged the […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.
Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.
SHIBA WA...

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
EU takes China to WTO over Lithuania trade dispute