Canada to Join EU-China Dispute at the WTO

Canada looks to join the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia as part of the European Union’s dispute with China at the World Trade Organization regarding Lithuania’s allegations of Beijing curbing trade from the Baltic state.

The EU launched a challenge at the WTO in January. The bloc accuses China of trade discrimination against Lithuania, threatening the EU’s single market.

Following Taiwan’s de facto opening of an embassy in Vilnius, Lithuania’s capital, China has downgraded diplomatic ties with the Baltic state.

Canada labeled the move as “economic coercion” and said it pledges to stand with “like-minded partners in supporting rules-based international trade”

China, on the other hand, says the dispute is political rather than economic. Beijing labels Lithuania’s actions as an attempt to “hijack” EU-China relations. China sees the self governed island of Taiwan as part of its own territory.

EU’s challenge at the WTO gives 60 days to the parties to settle the dispute. If it is not reached, the EU is allowed to launch a formal dispute, which would set up a WTO panel to study the bloc’s claims against China.

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