Pubblicato in: Cina, Unione Europea

Lituania. Cina bandisce le società che hanno rapporti con la Lituania. Vilnius ed EU sulla brace.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2021-12-11.

Cina

«China views …. Taiwan as its territory»

«The covert form of trade sanctions came into being after Lithuania recently invited Taiwan, which China claims as its own territory, to open a “representative office” in Vilnius.»

«Taiwan has other offices in Europe and the United States but they use the name of the city Taipei, avoiding reference to the island itself»

«China has told multinationals to sever ties with Lithuania or face being shut out of the Chinese market»

Lituania ed Unione Europea sono in fibrillazione.

Son ben passati i tempo nei quali i liberal europei proclamavano sanzioni efficaci: adesso, al contrario, quelle cinesi sono urticanti.

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«Lithuania braces for China-led corporate boycott»

«China has told multinationals to sever ties with Lithuania or face being shut out of the Chinese market»

«China downgraded its diplomatic ties with Lithuania last month, after the opening of a representative office by Taiwan in Vilnius»

«China views self-ruled and democratically governed Taiwan as its territory and has stepped up pressure on countries to downgrade or sever their relations with the island»

«Earlier last month, a China foreign ministry spokesperson said in a statement that Lithuania had ignored China’s “strong objection” to the opening of the Taiwan office»

«Taiwan has other offices in Europe and the United States but they use the name of the city Taipei, avoiding reference to the island itself»

«Lithuania’s direct trade with China is modest, but its export-based economy is home to hundreds of companies»

«They (China) have been sending messages to multinationals that if they use parts and supplies from Lithuania, they will no longer be allowed to sell to the Chinese market or get supplies there»

«We have seen some companies cancel contracts with Lithuanian suppliers»

«This week was the first time we saw direct Chinese pressure on a supplier to drop Lithuanian-made goods, …. Previously, we only had threats it could happen, now they became reality.”»

«A strong reaction is necessary at the EU level in order to send a signal to China that politically motivated economic pressure is unacceptable and will not be tolerated»

«The development of China’s bilateral relations with individual EU Member States has an impact on overall EU-China relations»

«We will not bend to this pressure, …. What we decide to do, by calling Taiwan Taiwan, is up to Lithuania, not Beijing»

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«The covert form of trade sanctions came into being after Lithuania recently invited Taiwan, which China claims as its own territory, to open a “representative office” in Vilnius.»

«For its part, the EU Commission defended Vilnius’ Taiwan-office move the same day»

«Lithuania-China trade was worth over $2bn a year»

«Make no mistake that any country that provokes China’s core interests is bound to find itself on the receiving end of countermeasures»

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«Make no mistake that any country that provokes China’s core interests is bound to find itself on the receiving end of countermeasures»

«Taiwan has other offices in Europe and the United States but they use the name of the city Taipei, avoiding reference to the island itself»

«China has told multinationals to sever ties with Lithuania or face being shut out of the Chinese market»

La Cina considera Formosa parte integrante del proprio territorio.

Le società che utilizzano le nazioni che non riconoscono questo fatto vedranno le aziende loro collegate bandite dal commercio cinese.

Non è una minaccia: è un dato di fatto.

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Lithuania braces for China-led corporate boycott.

– Lithuania in dispute with China over Taiwan

– Multinationals told to shun Baltic state, officials say

– Lithuania’s manufacturing sector targeted

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Frankfurt/Vilnius, Dec 9 (Reuters) – China has told multinationals to sever ties with Lithuania or face being shut out of the Chinese market, a senior government official and an industry body told Reuters, dragging companies into a dispute between the Baltic state and Beijing.

China downgraded its diplomatic ties with Lithuania last month, after the opening of a representative office by Taiwan in Vilnius. Lithuania’s ruling coalition had agreed in November last year to support what it described as “those fighting for freedom” in Taiwan, putting its relations with China at risk.

China views self-ruled and democratically governed Taiwan as its territory and has stepped up pressure on countries to downgrade or sever their relations with the island.

Earlier last month, a China foreign ministry spokesperson said in a statement that Lithuania had ignored China’s “strong objection” to the opening of the Taiwan office.

The Chinese foreign ministry did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment on this story.

Taiwan has other offices in Europe and the United States but they use the name of the city Taipei, avoiding reference to the island itself.

Lithuania’s direct trade with China is modest, but its export-based economy is home to hundreds of companies that make products such as furniture, lasers, food and clothing for multinationals that sell to China.

“They (China) have been sending messages to multinationals that if they use parts and supplies from Lithuania, they will no longer be allowed to sell to the Chinese market or get supplies there,” Mantas Adomenas, Lithuania’s vice-minister for foreign affairs, told Reuters.

“We have seen some companies cancel contracts with Lithuanian suppliers.”

He did not name any companies or suppliers affected.

                         Threats that became reality.

The Lithuanian Confederation of Industrialists, which represents thousands of Lithuanian companies, confirmed that some multinational companies that buy goods from Lithuania suppliers were being targeted by China.

“This week was the first time we saw direct Chinese pressure on a supplier to drop Lithuanian-made goods,” Vidmantas Janulevicius, the Confederation president, told Reuters. “Previously, we only had threats it could happen, now they became reality.”

“For us, the most painful part is that it’s a European company,” said Janulevicius, referring to the multinational. “Many Lithuanian businesses are suppliers for such companies.”

He did not name any companies.

Lithuania is looking at setting up a fund to shield local companies from Chinese retaliation, a senior government official told Reuters.

The Lithuanian government is in talks with the companies at risk of fallout from the China dispute about offering possible financial support, such as loans, the government official said.

Lithuania has also appealed to the European Commission for support.

In a letter sent earlier this week to top officials at the Commission and seen by Reuters, Lithuanian foreign minister Gabrielius Landsbergis asked for support in rebuffing China.

“A strong reaction is necessary at the EU level in order to send a signal to China that politically motivated economic pressure is unacceptable and will not be tolerated,” the letter said.

The European Commission responded in a statement that the EU was ready to stand up against all types of political pressure and coercive measures applied against any member state.

“The development of China’s bilateral relations with individual EU Member States has an impact on overall EU-China relations.”

When asked about China’s actions, George Magnus of Oxford University’s China Centre said that while there was a “constant drumbeat of toys being thrown out of the pram” by China, targeting third-party companies was unusual and had not been seen previously.

Adomenas said that Chinese authorities were also curtailing exports to Lithuania, including by stopping export credit guarantees for Lithuanian imports from China.

“It has affected food stuffs, lasers, raw materials, pharmaceuticals, furniture, clothing.”

“We will not bend to this pressure,” he said. “What we decide to do, by calling Taiwan Taiwan, is up to Lithuania, not Beijing.”

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Lithuania seeks EU protection from Chinese bullying.

Lithuania has asked for EU solidarity against China’s “economic coercion” to stop Vilnius’s backing for Taiwan.

Lithuanian firms in the pharmaceutical, electronics, and food sectors have recently had shipments “effectively banned from entering the Chinese market,” Lithuanian foreign minister Gabrielius Landsbergis said in a letter to the EU Commission and foreign service on Monday (6 December), seen by EUobserver.

China did it by recently declining customs clearances in offices in Beijing and Shanghai without any formal notification of sanctions to Vilnius, he added.

The actions took China’s “politically-motivated economic pressure to an unprecedentedly high level”, he noted.

“These activities … against one EU member state have a direct impact on the entire EU and our common trade policy. Therefore I would kindly ask you to intervene on behalf of Lithuania with the aim of resolving the present situation,” Landsbergis asked the EU institutions.

The covert form of trade sanctions came into being after Lithuania recently invited Taiwan, which China claims as its own territory, to open a “representative office” in Vilnius.

But Beijing’s “punishments” began already in August, when Lithuania quit China’s “17+1” trade club in central and eastern Europe, Landsbergis also said.

“A strong reaction is necessary at EU level … to send a signal to China that politically-motivated economic pressure is unacceptable,” he said.

For its part, the EU Commission defended Vilnius’ Taiwan-office move the same day.

“The EU doesn’t think the Taiwan representative office, which is not an embassy or a consulate, should be of any issue,” an EU spokeswoman said.

“We’ll see if this [Lithuania’s customs problem] is a one-off, or if it’s systematic. If confirmed, however, we’ll have to see if Chinese actions were compatible with WTO [World Trade Organization] rules,” she added.

The US, in November, already granted Lithuania a $600m (€571m) export credit agreement to help offset Chinese losses.

But Global Times, a Chinese government mouthpiece, mocked this in a series of stories last weekend.

“This is a drop in the sea,” it said on Sunday, noting that Lithuania-China trade was worth over $2bn a year.

“There is no need to let China-EU trade be derailed or hijacked by Lithuania’s wanton provocation of China’s internal affairs,” it added.

“Make no mistake that any country that provokes China’s core interests is bound to find itself on the receiving end of countermeasures,” it also said.

The aggressive rhetoric comes after China threatened sanctions against the Czech Republic for hosting a Taiwanese VIP in October.

It criticised MEPs who recently visited Taipei.

Slovakia might be next in the firing line, after a 43-member Slovak trade delegation wen to Taipei this week.

And China blacklisted dozens of MEPs and EU officials in retaliation for EU human-rights sanctions in May, sinking a draft China-EU investment treaty.

The Chinese mission to the EU did not reply to EUobserver’s questions on Monday.