China has suspended imports of Lithuanian beef, the customs administration said, as tensions rise over trade following the Baltic nation’s stance on Taiwan.
Lithuania, one of the smallest countries in the European Union, enraged China last year when it allowed Taipei to open a representative office in Vilnius under the name of Taiwan — a significant diplomatic departure that defied a pressure campaign by Beijing.
China does not recognise Taiwan as a state and considers the self-ruled democratic island a part of the mainland.
On Wednesday, the customs administration said in a notice that it would immediately suspend the acceptance of import declarations for Lithuanian beef, without giving further explanation.
China imported around 775 tonnes of beef from Lithuania in 2021, according to customs data, a small fraction of China’s import demand.
But the move comes as Lithuania urged countries to resist Chinese “coercion”, with its foreign minister warning that Beijing would target more countries unless likeminded nations push back.
Since Lithuania’s spat with China, diplomatic ties have been downgraded and Lithuanian exports have been stopped at China’s border, although Beijing denies allegations of a “shadow embargo”.
The EU has launched a case against Beijing at the World Trade Organization for targeting Lithuania over its stance on Taiwan.
Australia has also seen a swathe of its exports effectively banned in China after a series of political disputes over the last two years in an economic row that has also hit beef imports.