The European Union should be more united in its response to China's pressure on Lithuania, Economy and Innovation Minister Ausrine Armonaite has said.
Economy minister: we must speak to China with EU's voice
© DELFI / Julius Kalinskas

"Having European support is key," Armonaite said in an interview published by the Delfi online news site on Friday.

"Lithuania has always sought to have an [EU] 27+1 dialogue with China, and this is apparently the occasion where 27+1 finally has to show that it really exists as a format," the minister said. "Because today it could be Lithuania, but tomorrow it could be any other country."

"We are starting to get small signals that are problems with some cargoes from one or another European country, even our neighboring country," she added. "We need to speak to a big country like China with the powerful voice that the EU has."

Armonaite admits that she has received information from foreign investors in Lithuania about pressure from China.

"We have received an appeal from an association of German businesses, addressed to the foreign minister and me. We are in regular and direct contact with investors. These concerns were expressed to us some time ago," she said.

The minister doubts, however, that there is a real threat that major multinational companies will leave Lithuania.

In response to Lithuania's moves to deepen ties with Taiwan, including the opening of a Taiwanese representative office in Vilnius, China last autumn halted freight trains to Lithuania, stopped issuing food export permits, cut credit limits and raised prices for Lithuanian companies, and also at one time removed Lithuania from its customs systems.

According to media reports, China is also pressuring companies in other countries to stop using components made in Lithuania.

It is prohibited to copy and republish the text of this publication without a written permission from UAB „BNS“.

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