The European Union has threatened China with a World Trade Organization lawsuit if an alleged Chinese embargo on imports and exports from Lithuania is confirmed to be real, reports the South China Morning Post. The warning follows claims by Lithuanian business figures that Chinese customs officials have not been allowing goods from being exported to China or imported from the world’s second-largest economy to the eastern-European country.
The EU confirmed that it was investigating the accusations and warned that Lithuania’s relationship with China “has an impact on overall EU-China relations.”
“If the information received were to be confirmed, the EU would also assess the compatibility of China’s action with its obligations under the World Trade Organization,” said Valdis Drombovskis, the EU’s trade chief, in a joint statement with its top diplomat, Josep Borrell.
At a press conference in Brussels on Wednesday, Dombrovskis proposed a powerful new trade weapon that is designed to tackle economic coercion, and said its sights would be trained on Beijing if the alleged trade blocks against Lithuania continued. The row stems from Lithuania’s efforts to expand ties with Taiwan.