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EU launches WTO action against China for targeting Lithuania

Brussels, January 27

The European Union (EU) said on Thursday that it had launched action against China at world trade’s governing body for engaging in discriminatory practices against Lithuania, saying Beijing’s spat with the Baltic country was hitting other EU exports.

Lithuania broke with diplomatic custom by agreeing that the Taiwanese office in Vilnius would bear the name Taiwan instead of Chinese Taipei, a term used by other countries to avoid offending Beijing. China considers Taiwan part of its territory with no right to diplomatic recognition.

Beijing expelled the Lithuanian ambassador and withdrew its own ambassador. Last month, Lithuania closed its embassy in the Chinese capital. Tensions have mounted, and Lithuania accuses Beijing of holding up goods at China’s borders. “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,” European Commission executive vice-president Valdis Dombrovskis said. — AP

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