US trade chief expresses support for Lithuania despite Chinese “coercion”

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai on Friday expressed strong U.S. support for Lithuania and the European Union in the face of “economic coercion” from China during an appeal with the vice president EU executive Valdis Dombrovskis, the USTR said in a statement.

The expression of support for Lithuania is the second this week from Tai, who had a call with Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis on Wednesday.

Lithuania is under pressure from China, which claims Taiwan as a democratically governed territory, to reverse last year’s decision to allow the island to open a de facto embassy in Vilnius under its own name.

China has recalled its ambassador to Lithuania and degraded diplomatic relations, and pressured companies like German auto parts giant Continental to stop using components made in Lithuania. He also prevented Lithuanian cargo from entering China.

“Ambassador Tai stressed the importance of working with the European Union and its member states to combat coercive diplomatic and economic behavior through various channels, including the US-European Trade and Technology Council,” he said. the USTR said, referring to a new cooperative effort launched by Tai. and Dombrovskis last September to improve transatlantic relations and better compete with China.

Tai and Dombrovskis, who is the EU’s trade chief, also discussed cooperation to tackle “global non-market excess capacity” in steel and aluminum, a reference to China’s overproduction of metals which flooded world markets.

(Reporting by David Lawder; Editing by Leslie Adler and Grant McCool)

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