VILNIUS - Some Lithuanian companies are trying to divert their products through Riga, Gdansk or other neighboring Baltic ports amid China's blockade of Lithuanian-made goods, and importers from China are looking for alternative ports, too, business representatives have said.
"Exports from Lithuania to China have come to a standstill," Vidmantas Janulevicius, president of the Lithuanian Confederation of Industrialists (LPK), has told BNS.
According to him, there are only isolated cases when Lithuanian businesses, mostly technology companies, manage to get their products to the Chinese market.
The LPK president says the situation has not changed even though Lithuania has been formally reinstated into the Chinese customs systems after it was removed from them in early December.
"As a country, [Lithuania] has reemerged theoretically [in the Chinese customs systems]. It is possible to fill in declarations, but we receive no confirmation of the completed declarations," he told BNS.
Vaidotas Sileika, CEO of Klaipeda Container Terminal and president of the Association of Lithuanian Stevedoring Companies, says that Lithuanian manufacturers and exporters are starting to use ports in neighboring countries to ship their products to the Chinese market.
"Most of the time it's the port of Riga, but also Polish ports. There are signals that cargo importers are also trying to find alternative ports," Sileika told BNS.
"If it is an import from China, importers use Riga as the last port of unloading," he said. "[Producers and exporters] in the northern part of Lithuania have been routing a certain part of their cargo through Riga for a long time, but this flow is gradually increasing."
Janulevicius said businesses are looking for various possibilities, but he did not elaborate, noting that China is closely monitoring the information appearing in the Lithuanian media.
The LPK president said he had no information on whether some Lithuanian exporters to China are considering relocating their operations to other countries, but he admitted that businesses could be "looking for various solutions".
In the autumn, Beijing halted freight trains to Lithuania and stopped issuing food export permits, and cut credit limits and raised prices for Lithuanian companies.
In early December, China removed Lithuania from its customs systems. The issues with Chinese customs appeared to have been resolved after a while, but Lithuanian businesses continue to have problems clearing their goods.
China has been angered by Lithuania's deepening ties with Taiwan, which it considers part of its territory, and the opening of the island's representative office in Vilnius under the name "Taiwanese".