Lithuania: Taiwan to set up $1B credit fund amid China spat

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Taiwan will set up a $1 billion credit program aimed at funding projects by Lithuanian and Taiwanese companies amid economic pressure from China on an office opening up the island in the EU country.

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The move follows Taiwan’s announcement of setting up a $200 million investment fund to help Lithuania amid a diplomatic dispute with Beijing. US and Lithuanian officials say China has blocked imports from the Baltic nation, a close US ally.

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Lithuania agreed with diplomatic custom that a Taiwanese representative office in the capital of Vilnius – a de facto embassy – would be named Taiwan, rather than Chinese Taipei, which other countries use to avoid offending Beijing. China considers Taiwan as part of its territory without the right of diplomatic recognition.

Lithuania hopes the new credit program will boost projects in tech industries, including computer chips, laser manufacturing and the biotechnology sectors, which are facing pressure from China.

“This is great news. I think Lithuania can be evaluated as a potential investment destination for the semiconductor industry,” said Taiwan’s National Development Council Minister Kung Ming-sien after an online meeting with the Minister of Economy And Osrin Armonite, Lithuanian Minister for Innovation told reporters.

Beijing last week dismissed Taiwan’s investment funds for Lithuania as “dollar diplomacy” and accused the US of instigating the Baltic nation in its efforts to control China.

Lithuania, a country of 2.8 million people, is a member of the European Union and NATO. Before the diplomatic dispute that began last year, China was Lithuania’s 13th largest trading partner, while Taiwan was 65th.

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