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EU launches WTO action against China following Lithuania trade restrictions

© Alejandro Luengo

GENEVA, Switzerland (WNI) — The European Union formally launched its case at the World Trade Organization on Thursday against China in relation to trade restrictions imposed on Lithuania.

The EU revealed it would be taking action at the WTO over what it regards as China’s “discriminatory trade practices against Lithuania” and would be seeking a settlement from the longstanding dispute.

Following a breakdown in talks between China and the EU over the issue of Lithuania’s exports to the world’s second largest economy, the EU noted that trade restrictions were being felt by several EU member nations.

While the EU’s official action at the WTO could bring ramifications for longterm trade cooperation with China, Executive Vice-President and Commissioner for Trade, Valdis Dombrovskis, commented: “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.”

In the first stage of launching a proceeding under the WTO dispute settlement procedure, both parties can request consultations, of which the EU has made its formal request to China in regards to its documented actions against Lithuania.

With the ongoing diplomatic spat between Lithuania and the People's Republic of China, the European Union is set to enter a 60-day consultation in an attempt to resolve the issue. This follows alleged refusals by Beijing to process Lithuanian goods through customs and rejecting import applications.

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