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Wednesday, February 1, 2023

China fumes over US ‘economic coercion’

Beijing accused Washington of “abusing” its export controls as the US reportedly plans to curb tech sales to China

China has condemned the US government following reports that it plans to place dozens of Chinese technology firms on a trade blacklist that would bar them from buying certain American parts and components, dubbing the move “blatant economic coercion.”

Asked about Washington’s scheme to penalize some 36 tech companies – which was first reported earlier this week by Bloomberg and the Financial Times – Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said the decision would severely undermine trade relations between the two countries.

“The US has been stretching the concept of national security, abusing export control measures, engaging in discriminatory and unfair treatment against enterprises of other countries, and politicizing and weaponizing economic and sci-tech issues,” Wang told reporters on Wednesday, adding: “This is blatant economic coercion and bullying in the field of technology.”

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US to blacklist more Chinese firms – Bloomberg

Under the US plan, which, per Bloomberg, could take effect as early as this week, the Commerce Department would place the Chinese firms on the so-called ‘Entity List,’ prohibiting them from purchasing some US-made goods unless they obtain a special export license. China’s leading chip-maker, Yangtze Memory Technologies, is set to be included on the list

According to the Financial Times, the move is part of a broader effort by Washington to “target Chinese technology companies that it believes threaten its security,” having already imposed strong export controls earlier this year which made it far more difficult for Chinese firms to obtain semiconductors and equipment used to manufacture computer chips.

Wang was also asked to comment on a new bill introduced in the US Congress this week that aims to cut off Chinese tech firms from American banks, saying that Washington is abusing its powers to “wantonly hobble Chinese companies” while vowing to protect the rights of local businesses.

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“Undermining international rules will eventually backfire on the US itself,” Wang added. 

Since taking office, President Joe Biden has pursued many of the same hostile policies toward China as his predecessor, Donald Trump. In addition to continuing a low-level trade war largely targeting technology companies, Biden has sent American warships through contested waters off China’s coast on a near-monthly basis, while also ignoring repeated warnings by Beijing to cease all direct diplomatic contacts with Taiwan, which China considers to be part of its sovereign territory.


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