China is one of the rare subjects on which the policy of Joe Biden is inscribed, since his arrival at the White House, in the continuity of that of Donald Trump who had launched a real offensive against Beijing.
The American president followed in the footsteps of his predecessor by extending, Thursday, June 3, a blacklist of Chinese companies accused of supporting Beijing’s military activities, which can no longer benefit from American investments.
The Democratic president amended his predecessor’s decree, issued last November, to include companies involved in the manufacture and deployment of surveillance technology, which could be used not only in China against the Uighur Muslim minority and dissidents, but also around the world.
“This decree authorizes the United States to prohibit – in a targeted and circumscribed manner – American investments in Chinese companies that undermine the security or democratic values of the United States and our allies ”, summed up the White House in a statement.
Deadline of August 2 to sell shareholdings and financial interests
Washington specifies that this list also targets companies using “Chinese surveillance technologies outside China, as well as their development or use to facilitate repression or serious human rights violations”, with reference to the Uighurs in particular.
The initial blacklist was put in place by Donald Trump on November 12 and included 31 companies, believed to be supplying or supporting the Chinese military and security complex. It now has 59.
Americans – individuals and companies – with stakes and other financial interests in these companies have until August 2 to sell them. This list includes major construction, telecom and technology groups, such as the phone maker Huawei, the oil giant CNOOC, China Railway Construction, China Mobile, China Telecom and even the video surveillance company Hikvision.
The Biden administration explains that it wants “Consolidate and strengthen” the decree signed by Donald Trump “To ban American investments in the military-industrial complex of the People’s Republic of China”. It is also about “Ensure that American investments do not support Chinese companies that undermine the security or values of the United States and our allies”, details the White House.
“Harmful measures”, according to Beijing
Asked about the subject Thursday, before the publication of the decree, China had denounced the ban ” Politics “ decided by the United States in the Donald Trump era and which “Absolutely ignores” of the reality of the companies concerned.
“The United States should respect the rule of law” and “Stop taking harmful measures for the global financial market”, said Wang Wenbin, a spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry. “China will take necessary measures to vigorously protect the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese enterprises”, he promised at a regular press briefing.
If Joe Biden is also firm with China, the current tenant of the White House wants, unlike his predecessor, to use the diplomatic channel by forming a common front against China with the international partners of the United States.
The subject is also a consensus on Capitol Hill in Washington. Republican Senators Tom Cotton and Marco Rubio, along with Democrats Gary Peters and Mark Kelly, issued a joint letter earlier this week, calling on the administration to release a new list.
“The US government must continue to act decisively to block the Chinese Communist Party’s predation against our industrial base”, urges the text.
Under the Trump era, the trade showdown between the world’s two leading powers resulted in additional reciprocal tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars in goods, which weighed on the global economy. Beijing and Washington had however signed a trade agreement, a truce decided in January 2020, just before the world was paralyzed by the Covid-19 epidemic.