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EU unveils trade sanction plan to counter foreign coercion

“Unity and solidarity within the EU remain key to upholding our interests and our values,” Dombrovskis told reporters. “The EU is ready to stand up against all types of political pressure and coercive measures applied against any member state.”

The European Union moved Wednesday to set up a system of quick-fire trade sanctions that it could impose on any foreign power, like China, that it accuses of trying to coerce the 27-country bloc for economic or political gain, AP reports.

The EU’s executive branch, the European Commission, manages trade with the outside world on behalf of member nations. It’s seeking their permission to react without needing the endorsement of all 27 when any person, company or country tries to strong-arm the bloc. It could face pushback from some EU countries against giving the commission too much power.

The commission says it might be possible to use such a system in China’s spat with Lithuania, whose ties with Taiwan have prompted Beijing to downgrade diplomatic relations with the EU member. Lithuania says its trade shipments are no longer being cleared through Chinese customs.

China and Taiwan split during a civil war in 1949, and Beijing threatens to use force to bring the island under its control.

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