China has expelled Lithuania from its customs system

Lithuanian entrepreneurs in China can no longer clear their goods because Beijing has expelled Lithuania from its customs system since December.

An entrepreneur who exports timber to China has informed about the portal “15min”. Vidmants Janulevičs, President of the Lithuanian Confederation of Industrialists, has also confirmed this news.

“It is. Lithuania, either by mistake or not, has been removed from the electronic customs declaration system for goods entering China. There is no such country in the Chinese customs system, and this, of course, causes problems to send cargo containers from the port of Klaipeda, ”he admitted, adding that there is no information yet about possible obstacles to Chinese exports to Lithuania, but the situation is being followed.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has also confirmed to the BNS news agency that there are possible obstacles to the entry of Lithuanian products into China. It has stated that it will seek the European Union’s (EU) response.

“We are in contact with Lithuanian companies, gathering all possible information from China about the restrictions and also contacting the European Commission about the reaction at the EU level,” the ministry said in a commentary.

Janulevičs also expressed hope that Brussels would express support for Lithuania, emphasizing that it was important for the entire European Union as a single economic and political space.

Roks Radvilavičs, head of the Lithuanian-Chinese Trade Association, noted that there were no official publicly available sources for blocking Lithuanian goods, but it was possible that such signals could be sent as “internal instructions”.

The Minister of Economy and Innovation Aušrine Armonaite has also admitted that she does not yet have official information about the situation, but has indicated that the ministry maintains contacts with entrepreneurs and seeks clarity. According to her, the preparation for possible problems has taken place in time and the amount of credit guarantees of the development promotion institution “Invega” has been increased for companies that lack working capital.

Beijing has reportedly been outraged this year by Lithuania’s decision to allow Taiwan to establish a representation in Lithuania under the name “Taiwan” as China tries to prevent any attempt by Taiwan to act as an independent state. Elsewhere in the world, such representations use the name “Taipei” as Taiwan’s capital, in line with Beijing’s “one China” policy, which does not allow Taiwan to be considered a separate country.

Taiwan’s representative office in Vilnius was opened on November 18, but soon after, China announced that it had lowered the level of diplomatic relations with Lithuania, ie in the future Beijing’s interests in Lithuania would be represented not by an ambassador but by a lower-ranking diplomat.

In May, Lithuania announced that it was withdrawing from the 17 + 1 format for economic and political cooperation, which is important for China and involves mainly Central and Eastern European countries, as it considers it divisive.

The intention to open a Taiwanese representation in Lithuania was announced in July.

In August, China recalled its ambassador to Vilnius, citing Lithuania’s position on Taiwan, and demanded the recall of the Lithuanian ambassador to Beijing. Lithuanian Ambassador to China Diāna Mickevičiene returned to Lithuania for consultations in early September.

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