The European Union (EU) Thursday filed a case in the World Trade Organization (WTO) against the People’s Republic of China following trade restrictions that China has been imposing on Lithuania.
This move comes in response to trade restrictions that China has imposed on Lithuania since December 2021. The trade restrictions imposed include blocking all Lithuanian imports and pressuring EU companies to remove Lithuanian inputs from their own supply chains to avoid facing import restrictions themselves. Within the press release, the EU described China’s actions as appearing to be both “discriminatory and illegal under WTO rules.”
EU Trade Commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis stated: “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.”
Political tension between Lithuania and China first arose last year when Lithuania allowed Taiwan to open a de facto embassy in Vilnius named the “Taiwanese Representative Office.”. Usually, only the name “Tapei” is used for Taiwanese offices as China claims Taiwan as its own territory. China condemned the opening of the office and responded by withdrawing its ambassador from Lithuania.
If, after 60 days, no satisfactory solution is met under the first stage of the WTO dispute settlement procedure, the EU can request a panel to rule on the dispute.