Australia to Join WTO Meeting on China-EU Trade Dispute

Australia is willing to participate in consultations about the trade dispute between China and the European Union, which was launched by the EU at the World Trade Organization (WTO). The EU accuses China of discriminatory trade practices against Lithuania, an EU member, and threatening the integrity of the single market.

China has imposed a series of formal and informal sanctions against Lithuania, which decided to open a Taiwanese embassy in the nation’s capital, Vilnius. China, which considers Taiwan as part of Chinese territory, downgraded ties with Lithuania and has pushed multinational companies to cut ties with the Baltic nation in order to be able to keep operating in China.

Chinese restrictions include not clearing Lithuanian goods in Chinese customs, rejecting import applications from Lithuania and pressing EU firms to exclude Lithuanian content from supply chains when exporting to China.

Relations between Australia and China have also become tense after Australian government prohibited Huawei from taking part in the country’s 5G infrastructure, implemented tougher laws against foreign political interference and called for an independent committee to research the origins of COVID-19. Australia is China’s top trade partner.

Beijing, in response, has frozen ministerial contacts and imposed tariffs on numerous Australian imports such as coal, beef, wine and barley.

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