EU announces trade sanctions plan to counter foreign coercion


Brussels — The European Union moves on Wednesday with a system of rapid trade sanctions that could impose on any foreign power, such as China, accusing it of trying to force a block of 27 countries for economic or political gain. Set up.

The European Commission, the EU’s executive branch, controls trade with the outside world on behalf of its member states. It seeks their permission to react without the approval of all 27 people when someone, company, or country attempts to arm the block strongly. We may face opposition from some EU countries to over-authorizing the Commission.

The Commission says it may be possible to use such a system in China’s spats with Lithuania, whose relations with Taiwan have urged Beijing to downgrade diplomatic relations with EU member states. Lithuania states that its trade cargo is no longer customs cleared through Chinese customs.

China and Taiwan split during the 1949 civil war, threatening Beijing to use its power to take control of the island.

“China has restricted trade with Lithuania,” Vice President Valdis Donbroski said in announcing the plan. “Obviously, there may be reason to evaluate whether this constitutes economic coercion and, accordingly, whether this measure is applicable.”

“Unity and solidarity within the EU will continue to be the key to maintaining our interests and values,” Donbrovsky told reporters. “The EU is ready to face all kinds of political pressures and coercions that apply to all member states.”

The new system empowers the Commission to impose disciplinary tariffs and quotas, as well as restricting access to EU markets and trying to limit trade and investment as countries force changes in EU policy. To prevent.

The Commission protects the EU’s interests as “the recent rise in geopolitical tensions, weakening of international cooperation and the weaponization of trade and investment have increased the reliance on economic coercion.” He said he needed additional authority to do so.

Without such capabilities, the EU argues that it would fall back to standard use of diplomatic pressure. It is much later, requiring all 27 member states to agree.

Under this plan, Brussels will investigate whether trade or economic activity constitutes coercion, contact the coercive country to try to resolve the problem, and take action if no solution is found. Such behavior will probably take months, not weeks.

Commission officials are wary of saying exactly what could cause “anti-force”, but the product is a threat to US national security.

The Commission believes that there was ample bailout through the World Trade Organization and could impose countermeasures on US-made motorcycles, bourbon, peanut butter, jeans and more.

Even if approved, it can take several months for the system to be approved. EU member states are dissatisfied with the over-power of the Commission, such as Hungary and Poland, and the European Parliament must now establish its position and negotiate with it.

Bernd Lange, chair of the European Parliament’s Trade Commission, welcomed the plan.

“The EU is facing geopolitical reality. The last few months and years have shown that trade policy is increasingly being used as a political weapon. The toolbox has others There are gaps available, “he warned.

Lone Cook

Associated Press