Lithuania has itself to blame as its export push to Taiwan island hits snag
Published: May 11, 2022 05:59 PM Updated: May 11, 2022 05:55 PM
Citizens walk on the street in Siauliai, Lithuania. Photo: Xinhua
Citizens walk on the street in Siauliai, Lithuania. Photo: Xinhua

Citing a corporate source responsible for negotiating exports, Lithuanian media outlet Delfi said the country's grain exports are now being refused by the local authorities of China's Taiwan island, citing "specific quality requirements."

It has been several months since Lithuania's numerous attempts to expand agricultural produce exports to Taiwan island encountered resistance. Although the local Taiwan authorities denied imposing restrictions on grain imports from Lithuania, Lithuania's plan to quickly obtain a permit to expand agricultural exports to the island to cope with its economic difficulties may not be that easy to become true.

Lithuania was reportedly pressing local Taiwan authorities to grant agricultural exports market access in January. Antanas Venckus, an official from the Lithuanian Ministry of Agriculture said at the time most of their agricultural exports "have yet to be approved for entry," and they are waiting for a fast-track approval. However, four months have passed, Lithuanian agricultural products exports have yet to be approved.

On the issue of fast-track approval of Lithuanian agricultural products to the island, even as the local Taiwan authorities appeared eager to take action for political considerations, there are, in fact, specific economic concerns preventing the island from taking action.

If the Lithuania's calculation was to manipulate the Taiwan question by denying the one-China principle, the small European country is destined to hit the wall, because it was clearly a folly miscalculation.

It's now known to all that Lithuania has caused a self-made awkward position by playing with fire on Taiwan question. And, it will find itself getting burnt in the fire.

After its blunt provocation on the one-China principle, its trade with the Chinese mainland has fallen drastically, stoking broad grievances in the business community of the country. The Chinese mainland's first-quarter imports from Lithuania plunged by nearly 77 percent from a year ago, according to the South China Morning Post.

Lithuania has staged a political posturing to confront China and pat itself in the back that trade with Chinese mainland is not large enough to affect its economy. The mounting voice of critique from the business community is hurting the Lithuanian government.

By hyping up the economic "coercion" accusation against China, Lithuanian government has attempted to prod other EU member countries to pick a fight with China on trade, which is no easy job. Lithuania's baseless accusation against China has only received limited verbal support from a few European countries.

The Lithuanian government apparently did not expect its foreign trade will have suffered such a severe pummel.

The politicians in Lithuania have been trying to let the Taiwan island market share its aggravated predicaments. Earlier this year, it was reported that Lithuania was marketing unsellable products such as rum to the island of Taiwan, but Lithuania's move has encountered resistance from the business community in Taiwan island, which also triggered a backlash among consumers in the island.

All economic and trade behaviors need to abide by economic laws. The trade dependence of Lithuania on large markets like Chinese mainland's, as well as the market size of Taiwan island, determine that Lithuania's current strategy will inevitably fail to solve its growing domestic pressure.

If Lithuania intentionally allows its diplomatic relations with Beijing to continue to deteriorate, and goes further down the wrong path of maliciously accusing and confronting China and Chinese people, the Baltic country's economy will surely have to pay an even greater price.

Lithuania cannot expect any other party to pay for its mistakes, only the country itself can reverse this self-made awkwardness. Lithuania should face the facts, correct its mistakes and return to the right track of adhering to the one-China principle as soon as possible, in order to mend its fraught ties with China.

The author is an editor with the Global Times.