The EU denounces China before the WTO for its measures against Lithuania and for failing to protect key European patents


The EU denounces China before the WTO for its measures against Lithuania and for failing to protect key European patents


The European Union has announced this Wednesday that it will denounce China before the World Trade Organization (WTO) for the trade punishments it imposes on Lithuania in retaliation for its policy of rapprochement with Taiwan and for failing to protect European patents for key technologies such as 5G. , after having unsuccessfully tried to resolve these two disputes in previous negotiations.

The European Commission, which acts on behalf of the Twenty-seven in commercial matters, went to the international organization in January and February of this year to request consultations with China in order to resolve these two issues, which Brussels considers to be in violation of WTO rules. and "harms the economic and strategic interests" of the EU.

Given the lack of progress in the established dialogue, the community services are now raising the tone of the dispute and requesting the opening of two panels, a request that the WTO Dispute Resolution Body will examine on December 20.

As indicated by the community services, China could oppose the panels on one occasion but in that case the EU would appeal again with the same request and the competent body would set the panels at its session on January 30, 2023, which can be extended up to a month. year and a half.

In the case of Beijing's trade retaliation against Lithuania for its relations with Taiwan, the EU, China's refusal to clear Lithuanian products through its customs, the rejection of Lithuanian import requests and also "pressure" on companies from other Member States to remove Lithuanian components from their supply chains when exporting to China.

Later, the Chinese authorities also "suddenly" banned all imports of alcohol, beef, dairy products, timber and peat from Lithuania citing phytosanitary reasons that are "unjustified" in the EU's eyes.

Brussels considers that these practices are contrary to international trade rules and, in addition, warns of their impact on the exports of other actors in the community market, given that they are also directed against products manufactured in other Member States but with Lithuanian components. .

According to the Europeans, the "discriminatory and coercive" measures that have been applied against Lithuania since December 2021 have caused an 80% drop in trade relations between this EU country and the Asian giant during 2022 compared to the data for the year. previous.

In the second case, the European Union denounces obstacles by Beijing to European companies with patents in key technologies such as 5G when they resort to national courts to denounce their illegal appropriation by Chinese industry.

The community bloc criticizes that patent owners who go to a court outside of China to assert their rights over protected technologies later find themselves with daily fines of up to 130,000 euros imposed by the Chinese authorities, which in practice means "putting pressure on them to set licenses below market prices".

In the opinion of the Community Executive, which represents the Twenty-seven before the WTO, China's policy in this matter is "extremely harmful" for growth and innovation in the European Union because it prevents European technology companies from "exercising and enforcing the rights that It gives them the technological edge."