In its note, the Commission recalled that China has applied since December 2021 “discriminatory and coercive measures against exports from Lithuania and against exports of EU products with Lithuanian content.”
This measure also resulted in “a reduction of Chinese exports to Lithuania”. According to the Commission, the measures adopted by China reduced trade by 80%.
The other panel refers to the restrictions imposed by China on European high-tech patent holders so that they can defend their rights in courts outside the Asian giant.
This measure “de facto deprives European high-tech companies of the possibility to exercise and enforce their patent rights within the EU or in any other court outside China,” the Commission noted.
The Commission considers that this regulation is “incompatible” with the agreements on intellectual property in the sphere of the WTO.
“We have no choice”
The European Commissioner for Trade and Executive Vice-President of the Commission, Valdis Dombrovskis, pointed out that “good partners treat each other with respect and should adhere to fair play”.
According to the official, the EU preferred to resolve these two cases “in a consultation process and we have spent a considerable amount of time doing so. However, this was to no avail.”
For this reason, he pointed out, “we have no other option than to request the establishment of these WTO panels.”
An EU official who provided details of the decision to the press commented that “by requesting a panel, we are essentially taking these two cases to the litigation stage.”
For his part, the Lithuanian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Gabrielis Landsbergis, welcomed the Commission’s decision and described it as a “message”.