Translation and Commentary: Jenny Ball
Editor: yuddy

Data photo. (JULIEN WARNAND/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

The European Union filed a lawsuit at the World Trade Organization (WTO) on January 27th over China’s imposition of trade restrictions on Lithuania. Subsequently, the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) said it would join these WTO negotiations in solidarity with Lithuania and the European Union (EU). Analysts believe that the United States’ entry will further isolate the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in the WTO.

On Thursday (January 27th), European Commission Executive Vice-President and Trade Commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis revealed that the European Union had launched a WTO complaint against China’s “discriminatory” trade practices against Lithuania. He stated that Beijing should quit imposing trade sanctions on EU member states by obstructing goods imports based on political considerations.

The United States has backed the EU’s solidarity stance with Lithuania. Adam Hodge, a spokesman for the United States Trade Representative, tweeted, “To combat the CCP’s coercive economic and diplomatic policies, we will continue to engage with Lithuania, the EU, and other like-minded allies and partners. In solidarity with Lithuania and the European Union, the US will request to participate in these WTO negotiations.”

Due to the important role of the US in the WTO, this matter is even more unfavorable for the CCP, which aggravates the CCP’s predicament. In particular, the WTO is currently undergoing reform, and the forces of all parties are intertwined. Through the Lithuania incident, the CCP will become more isolated in the WTO, and the CCP’s situation in the international economy will deteriorate and reverse.

Katherine Chi Tai, the US Trade Representative, talked with Lithuania’s foreign minister earlier this year, indicating that the US could back Lithuania in the diplomatic dispute and that the two nations would work together to combat China’s “economic coercion.”

Furthermore, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has spoken out in support of Lithuania on several occasions. Then there’s the question of how the United States participates. If the US files another case, it will be the plaintiff, and China (CCP) will be the target of two lawsuits, which might have a greater impact. If the United States is a third party in this action, it will express its opinion on the issue and allow the judge to decide, which can also play a role.

If Beijing’s policies are not addressed, 450 million people throughout the EU might be harmed, according to Dombrovskis. “I want to be clear: these measures constitute a challenge to the EU’s single market framework, harming overall EU trade and supply chains, and negatively impacting EU business.”

“On measures that breach WTO regulations, the EU is determined to act in unison and swiftly,” he said.

The question of whether this lawsuit will worsen diplomatic relations between the CCP, the EU, and the US has attracted the attentions of many from all walks of life.

The CCP has begun to exert severe political, diplomatic, and economic pressure on Lithuania after it permitted Taiwan to establish a “Taiwan Representative Office in Lithuania” in 2021.

Not only has the CCP downgraded diplomatic relations with Lithuania, but it has also imposed broad economic sanctions and retaliation against the country. China has not placed any fresh orders with many Lithuanian exporters. There have also been reports in a variety of industries that China has ceased renewing or issuing import licenses, or that China has filed unfounded complaints about items, such as bugs and illnesses on Lithuanian crops, and so on.

According to Chinese customs data, Lithuanian commerce with China decreased by 91% in December 2021 compared to the same month in 2020, with pharmaceuticals, lasers, electronics, and food being the most affected industries.

Zhao Lijian, a spokeswoman for the CCP’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, responded to the EU’s WTO case by saying that China (CCP) has always operated in compliance with WTO regulations, and that the dispute between China and Lithuania is political, not economic.

The CCP’s economic coercion of Lithuania was, in fact, a pivotal event. The CCP claimed to have always followed WTO standards, however the Lithuania event has revealed the CCP’s true face. The CCP clearly did not follow WTO regulations. The CCP is essentially inviting its own humiliation.

Comment: “Never believe a word of the CCP, not even the punctuation marks in the paper,” a former editor-in-chief of the state-run People’s Daily once said. As a result, actions can be heard. The Communist Party of China’s economic repression of Lithuania reveals the true essence of the communist system.

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