VILNIUS – China's General Administration of Customs on Wednesday officially notified Lithuania on the country's decision to suspend imports of beef, dairy products and beer, Lithuania's State Food and Veterinary Service told BNS.
Mantas Staskevicius, head of the SFVS, says Lithuania suspended exports of animal products to China last fall after businesses themselves refused to send them.
"Yesterday, we received a note on the suspension of exports from Lithuania to China," Rosvaldas Gorbaciovas, spokesman for the service, told BNS.
Mantas Staskevicius, head of the SFVS, says the service has received such a note for the first time. In his words, China cited a lack of documents as the reason for suspending imports from Lithuania.
"It's very strange as we have provided and continue to provide all information they ask, just the way we work with non-EU countries. We have not received any note on some lack of documents or information from this country so far," he told BNS.
"Representatives of China's competent institutions carried out a remote audit on both beef and fish products in Lithuania in 2020. We were assessed fairly well, and all information was provided," he added.
The last animal product shipments to China were sent by Lithuania businesses in November but as Lithuanian-Chinese relations soured, Lithuanian companies are now shunning the Chinese market. Staskevicius said.
"Since probably October or November, speaking of animal products, so probably all companies that had permits to export to this country, suspended exports, and neither fish, not dairy or beef products are now longer being certified, as businesses have practically refused to send them. They are diversifying their operations and are looking for other markets," he said.
China's customs systems have in fact been rejecting Lithuanian goods since December but Beijing has not officially notified Lithuania so far.
Lithuania's exports to China plunged 91 percent in December, from the same period last year, based on the figures from the European Commission.
Lithuanian-Chinese relations soured after a Taiwanese representative office was opened in Vilnius under the island's name. Experts say the name in Chinese sounds like it is Taiwan's representative office, and Beijing views that as Taiwan's attempt to act as an independent country.
China is the world's largest beef importer but imports from Lithuania are minimal. China imported 2.36 million tons of beef last year, including 775 tons from Lithuania, based on China's customs figures.