VILNIUS – China this week blocked the European Union's request to set up a panel at the World Trade Organization to look into Beijing's impose imports restrictions on Lithuania. Vilnius, however, says, it should not delay the process very much.
"China has exercised its right to block the EU's request to the WTO to set up a special panel to resolve its dispute with Lithuania. However, China can only use the blocking right once and it is unlikely to have a significant impact on the start of the proceedings," the Lithuanian Foreign Ministry said in a comment sent to BNS on Thursday.
China also blocked the EU's separate request to set up a panel to look into China preventing European high-tech companies from using the possibility to defend their patents at EU courts.
The Chinese newspaper South China Morning Post's news website reports that Beijing views the EU requests "puzzling" and "premature".
However, the EU will again request that panels to hear the cases are formed in January. China will no longer be able to veto the proceedings at this point since member states can only block such requests once, the website writes.
Trade restrictions with China followed Vilnius' decision to allow Taipei to open a Taiwanese trade office in the Lithuanian capital. The EU turned to the WTO early this year following a major drop in Lithuania's imports and exports to and from China.