While Beijing blocked Lithuanian imports due to Taiwan, the United States offered Vilnius an export loan of $ 600 million.

A high-ranking U.S. delegation visited Lithuania this week in a show of support for that country in its growing standoff with China over Taiwan.

In January, Beijing effectively blocked the import of Lithuanian goods after Taiwan was allowed to open its representative office in Vilnius.

China considers democratically governed Taiwan part of its territory.

The dispute quickly escalated into a trade standoff between the West and Beijing.

U.S. Undersecretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy and Environment Jose Fernandez met with Lithuanian ministers during the visit, which, according to the Department of State, demonstrated “continued strong support for Lithuania in the face of political pressure and economic coercion from the People’s Republic of China.

The parties discussed the implementation of a trade promotion agreement worth $600 million.

Lithuania welcomed this agreement.

“We constantly feel the strong political and practical support of the United States in our dispute with China over its systematic violations of international trade rules,” the Lithuanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a press release.

The dispute began in 2020, when the new Lithuanian government promised to support the “freedom fighters” in Taiwan, as it called them, and criticized the human rights situation in Hong Kong and Tibet.

Last November, Taiwan officially opened a representative office in Vilnius.

Lithuania stated that the opening will not affect its policy towards China in any way and does not imply official recognition of Taiwan’s independence from Beijing.

However, this move caused outrage in Beijing.

“From Beijing’s point of view, this is a real crossing of the red line in their attitude towards Taiwan. This is what led to Beijing later downgrading the status of its embassy in Lithuania,” Grzegorz Stec of the Mercator Institute for China Studies in Berlin said.

The Government of Taiwan has offered Lithuania a $1 billion loan program and a separate $200 million fund to stimulate trade.

Lithuania has donated hundreds of thousands of COVID-19 vaccines to Taiwan.

The U.S. has also taken measures to compensate for the deficit caused by the blockade of China.

The Export-Import Bank of the USA has signed an agreement with Lithuania on an export loan in the amount of $ 600 million, which is focused on production, business services and renewable energy sources.