EXCLUSIVE China pressures Germany’s Continental to cut out Lithuania – sources – Reuters
VILNIUS/FRANKFURT, Dec 17 (Reuters) – China is pressuring German car parts giant Continental (CONG.DE) to stop using components made in Lithuania, two people familiar with the matter told Reuters, amid a dispute between Beijing and the Baltic state over the status of Taiwan.
The targeting of Continental is an example of how the China-Lithuania diplomatic spat is spilling over into business in an era of global supply chains and affecting Germany’s car industry, a lucrative pillar of Europe’s biggest economy.
The Chinese government, which views self-ruled Taiwan as its territory, downgraded diplomatic ties with Lithuania last month after the opening of a representative office by Taiwan in Vilnius. Lithuania’s ruling coalition had also agreed last year to support what it described as “those fighting for freedom” on the island.
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Continental, one of the world’s largest car parts maker, has production facilities in Lithuania, making electronic parts such as controllers for vehicle doors and seats, and exports to clients globally including China.
Continental, which supplies all of Germany’s big automakers, declined to comment on whether it had been asked by the Chinese government to cut links with Lithuania.
China’s foreign ministry denied that Beijing had pressured multinational companies not to use Lithuanian-produced parts though said its companies no longer trusted Lithuania.
“The practice of ‘one China, one Taiwan’ grossly interferes in China’s internal affairs and seriously violates China’s core interests,” a spokesperson added.
“I heard that many Chinese companies no longer regard Lithuania as a trustworthy partner,” the spokesperson said. “Lithuania has …….