by H. Haverstock and Douglas F. Roberts
December 17, 2021
BERLIN – According to unnamed Continental executives, communist China is urging German automaker Continental to cease using components manufactured in Lithuania over a diplomatic spat concerning Taiwan.
Communist China considers self-ruled democratic Taiwan to be its territory and severed diplomatic ties with Lithuania last month following Taiwan’s establishment of a representative office in Vilnius. Lithuania’s ruling coalition government also declared its commitment help “those struggling for freedom” on the island of Taiwan.
Continental, one of the world’s leading auto parts manufacturers, maintains production facilities in Lithuania and distributes electronic parts such as controllers for vehicle doors and seats to clients worldwide, including communist China.
Communist China’s foreign ministry denied that Beijing had persuaded international corporations not to utilize Lithuanian-made parts, but it did say that its firms no longer trusted Lithuania.
Communist China has exerted pressure on countries to downgrade or cut ties with democratically controlled Taiwan. Earlier this month, a top official and an industry association said Communist China had urged global corporations to cut connections with Lithuania or risk being barred from entering the Chinese market.
Lithuania’s direct commerce with communist China is minimal, but its export-based economy is home to hundreds of enterprises that manufacture goods for international corporations that sell to communist China.