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Trump administration takes final swipes at China and its companies

CommoditiesJan 14, 2021 07:25PM ET
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2/2 © Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The third annual U.S.-Qatar Strategic Dialogue is held at the State Department in Washington 2/2

By Mike Stone, Alexandra Alper and David Brunnstrom

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Trump administration in its waning days took another swipe at China and its biggest firms on Thursday, imposing sanctions on officials and companies for alleged misdeeds in the South China Sea and imposing an investment ban on nine more firms.

The moves will further increase tensions with China, Washington's strategic rival in Asia, days before President-elect Joe Biden takes office on Wednesday. The Biden transition team did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Executives of state-owned enterprises, officials of the Chinese Communist Party and military, along with oil giant CNOOC (NYSE:CEO) will face new restrictions for allegedly using coercion against states with rival South China Sea claims.

Senior U.S. officials told reporters on a call Thursday the new CNOOC restrictions will not apply to crude, refined fuels and liquid natural gas and do not apply to existing joint ventures with CNOOC that do not operate in the South China Sea.

Nine Chinese firms were added to the Pentagon's list of companies with alleged ties to the Chinese military, including planemaker Comac and phone maker Xiaomi (OTC:XIACF) Corp.

Those companies will be subject to a new U.S. investment ban which forces American investors to divest holdings of the blacklisted firms by Nov. 11, 2021.

In its response, the Chinese embassy referred to Jan. 7 Foreign Ministry comments accusing Washington of "pinning political and ideological labels on economic and trade issues and exploiting its state power to crack down on foreign companies, under the pretext of national security."

The United States has long opposed China's extensive territorial claims in the South China Sea, a potentially resource-rich area that is also a strategic trade route. Washington accuses Beijing of intimidating states such as Vietnam and the Philippines that have competing claims there.

China accuses Washington of trying to destabilize the region by sending warships and planes to the South China Sea.

"The United States stands with Southeast Asian claimant states seeking to defend their sovereign rights and interests, consistent with international law," Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in announcing the sanctions.

Pompeo said Washington was imposing visa restrictions on executives of Chinese state-owned enterprises and officials of the Chinese Communist Party and navy.

He said the sanctions were directed against those "responsible for, or complicit in, either the large-scale reclamation, construction, or militarization of disputed outposts in the South China Sea, or use of coercion against Southeast Asian claimants to inhibit their access to offshore resources."

The restrictions could also apply to immediate family members, he said.

The Commerce Department accused CNOOC of harassing and threatening offshore oil and gas exploration and extraction in the South China Sea, "with the goal of driving up the political risk for interested foreign partners, including Vietnam."

President Donald Trump's administration has kept up pressure in its final days, targeting what Washington sees as Beijing's bid to use corporations as a means to harness civilian technologies for military purposes.

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said CNOOC acted as "a bully for the People’s Liberation Army to intimidate China's neighbors" and the Chinese military "continues to benefit from government civil-military fusion policies for malign purposes."

Ross's department added CNOOC to an "Entity List" that requires firms to be granted a special license before they can receive exports of high-tech items from U.S. suppliers.

Chinese aviation firm Skyrizon was added to a Military End-User (MEU) List over its ability to develop military products including aircraft engines, restricting its access to U.S. exports.

Aside from Comac and Xiaomi, the Pentagon added Advanced Micro-Fabrication Equipment Inc, Luokung Technology Corp, Beijing Zhongguancun Development Investment Center, GOWIN Semiconductor Corp, Grand China Air Co Ltd, Global Tone Communication Technology Co Ltd and China National Aviation Holding Co Ltd to the list.

Representatives of the Chinese firms did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

On Wednesday the Trump administration scrapped plans to blacklist Chinese tech giants Alibaba (NYSE:BABA), Tencent and Baidu (NASDAQ:BIDU), four people familiar with the matter said.

Trump administration takes final swipes at China and its companies
 

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Comments (9)
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Ad Cline Jan 14, 2021 11:33PM ET
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when Trump lies people die. Trump sent a mob of alt right knuckle walking thugs to the Capitol and to bring down the government. that's called insurrection and sedition. he has committed crimes against the American people and the American Constitution. these crimes are punishable by impeachment and impresionment. lock him up.
CS Greer
CSGreer Jan 14, 2021 9:01PM ET
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Try finding an article back when Obama was President saying in regards to China's actions in the South China Sea that says "alleged misdeeds." You won't find one.
Gary SKY saw
Gary SKY saw Jan 14, 2021 9:01PM ET
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Go Google.. About South China Sea.. After ww2.. Find out what American promise China..
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Ad Cline Jan 14, 2021 7:11PM ET
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the Chinese government the ultimate hypocrites. their ultimate aim to ---destroy the West and dominate the planet. the world is finally waking.up to to their lies.
Gary SKY saw
Gary SKY saw Jan 14, 2021 7:11PM ET
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Wow.. You must be sick.. So American are not hypocrite.. Best in the world? Go do a survey around...yoy will be supprise.. 2/3 of the world population hates you guys.. So don't pretend you are a Saint.. Jealous to see China rising in economy power.. So what you guys do best.. Sanction.. Be a gentlemen or at least half a man
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Ad Cline Jan 14, 2021 7:11PM ET
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how long have you been working for American's enemies
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Ad Cline Jan 14, 2021 7:06PM ET
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Chinese bots are paid by the word. the PLA is very. active on this site. the Chinese must find a way to throw off the yoke of represssion and human degradation. their leader are guilty of crimes against the Chinese people.
Ridha B younes
Ridha B younes Jan 14, 2021 6:12PM ET
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The Republican advisers and law makers have not shown the right things to do to the trump administration only hypocrisy was shown and a yes to every move always yes do this yes .is it correct: yes .No also exists but was not used when no mattered. So Pompeio for Europe means sanctions and show of superiority was it good time for that No.why did he bother then .Trump going all the way to the border should have been last year timing of the event was blessed by a yes from republicans the speech was very nice but the timing was wrong after the events of the 6th trump near south American border again that felt threatening demining to south Americans . No Trump should have gotten better advice .
Ridha B younes
Ridha B younes Jan 14, 2021 6:12PM ET
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republicans said it that we want Trump to show his achievements . No don't show your achievements history only history should be doing that
David David
David9 Jan 14, 2021 4:53PM ET
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Pompeo tried to call other countries, but no one wants to talk with him. He tried to go on a last trip, but no one wants to see him... all these sanctions will go away... cause if not, the China Lion will start to Roar 2021...if she Roars, worldwide markets will shattered...
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Ad Cline Jan 14, 2021 4:53PM ET
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the Chinese lion had.better watch out or the rest of the world will pull its teeth and neuter it.
Gary SKY saw
Gary SKY saw Jan 14, 2021 4:53PM ET
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Ad.. At least Chinese had a lion head.. American had a headless chicken.. Running around without a direction.. Be a gentlemen..
Ridha B younes
Ridha B younes Jan 14, 2021 4:28PM ET
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Pompeio should keep old allies make more allies in these difficult times that is why I can't help seeing what he is doing is just provoking Europe by going to Belgium and getting snobed and shaming China over anything . Biden has many tasks already in his programs the world is waiting for next week to restore things .One week it so far away.
Di Ni
Di Ni Jan 14, 2021 2:44PM ET
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but what about other chinese entities aiding the chinese government, eg the chinese banks and insurers using the USD money system to further Chinese influence. where will the banning stop Mr. Pompeo? not a sustainable plan.
David David
David9 Jan 14, 2021 2:00PM ET
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hahaha.... this is laughable...
 
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