EU Requests WTO Panels Over Trade Disputes With China

The European Commission has requested the formation of adjudicating panels at the World Trade Organization as the next step in two trade disputes with China.

The disputes, both brought to the WTO at the beginning of the year, concern alleged Chinese restrictions on EU companies’ rights to use a foreign court to protect their high-tech patents and on trade with EU member Lithuania.

“In both cases, the measures are highly damaging to European businesses,” the Commission said in a statement on Wednesday, adding that measures against Lithuania disrupted intra-EU trade and supply chains.

The Commission, which oversees trade policy for the 27-member European Union, formally requested consultations with China at the WTO, the first step in a WTO challenge. Such consultations rarely resolve disputes.

The EU executive said it would request the formation of a WTO panel at the next meeting of the WTO Dispute Settlement Body on December 20, noting that panel proceedings can last up to one and a half years.

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