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WTO General Council to meet

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WTO General Council to meet

WTO General Council to meet Photo: Denis Balibouse/Reuters

The WTO General Council will meet today in Geneva, as the EU builds a case against China over Chinese trade practices toward Lithuania.

The EU launched the WTO case on January 27, claiming that China is breaching WTO rules and threatening the integrity of the EU’s single market. In December, China began placing coercive measures on Lithuanian exports and EU products in response to the Baltic nation reopening a Taiwanese representative office in Vilnius.

Per WTO rules, parties are allowed 60 days to hold discussions to reach a settlement, though this appears unlikely as previous de-escalation attempts through bilateral measures have failed. The EU will likely move to open a formal dispute, establishing a WTO panel to investigate its claims against China. So far, all members of the Group of Seven (G-7) forum have expressed support.

It may take several years for the case to pass through the WTO’s dispute-settlement system. Even if the EU wins an initial ruling, China could veto it by appealing to the WTO’s appellate body. However, if the EU succeeds in preparing a new anti-coercion mechanism that would allow for countermeasures in similar situations, it could react swiftly and effectively when faced with economic coercion.

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