Baerbock praises German firms for staying in Lithuania despite China's pressure

  • 2022-04-23
  • BNS/TBT Staff

VILNIUS – German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock on Friday praised German businesses for staying in Lithuania despite pressure from China to pull out of the country.

She said Berlin supports Lithuania in its diplomatic row with Beijing that broke out last year.

"We stand united in our support for our partner in the World Trade Organization," Baerbock told reporters in Vilnius. "Not a single German company has bowed to China's threats and left Lithuania."  

"We do not allow ourselves to be divided," she added.

Lithuania angered China by allowing Taiwan to open its representative office in Vilnius under the name "Taiwanese" instead of "Taipei". 

In retaliation, Beijing downgraded diplomatic ties with Vilnius and blocked Lithuanian exports.

In response, the European Commission in late January launched a case at the WTO against China over possible violations of international trade rules.

According to diplomats, Beijing also pressed multinationals to sever ties with Lithuania or face exclusion from its market. 

Among those publicly named was Germany's automotive giant Continental, which has an automotive components plant in Lithuania.