EU requests two WTO panels against China

DHARAMSALA, 8 Dec: Citing concerns that are highly damaging to European businesses, the EU has requested the establishment of two panels at the World Trade Organisation against China.

“The EU has today requested the establishment of panels at the World Trade Organisation for two of its ongoing trade disputes with China”, the European Commission said in a press release.

While the first WTO panel will address “the legality of the trade restrictions that China has had in place against Lithuanian exports and EU exports containing Lithuanian content since December 2021” and the second one is aimed at addressing “other concerns the legality of China restricting EU holders of high-tech patents from accessing EU courts to effectively protect and enforce their rights”.

The statement added: “In both cases, the Chinese measures are highly damaging to European businesses”. 

The European Commission further said that “China’s discriminatory measures against Lithuania affect intra-EU trade and intra-EU supply chains and they impact the functioning of the EU internal market, including by forced market adjustments” and declared. That the “removal of these measures is in both the economic and strategic interest of the EU”.

The European Commission, the executive of the European Union has stated that “by requesting a WTO panel, the EU is protecting its Member States against China’s discriminatory measures, which the EU considers to be in breach of WTO rules”.

 The EU’s request to establish panels will now be discussed at the WTO Dispute Settlement Body (DSB) next meeting which is scheduled on 20 December 2022.

Though China can oppose the establishment of a panel once,  the EU can renew its request and the panel will be established at the 30 January 2023 meeting of the DSB. Panel proceedings can last up to one and a half years.

China is the EU’s third-largest export destination and the largest import partner. 

Though the EU’s trade with China has increased significantly in 2021, the official website of the European Union reports that between 2011 and 2021, the EU continuously recorded a trade deficit with China, increasing from €129 billion in 2011 to a peak value of €249 billion in 2021.

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