Trump wants US government to restrict more goods & services from China

Jan 16, 2021 | BUSINESS

With just days left in office, US President Donald Trump, has taken another swipe at Beijing, ordering government agencies to look for ways to minimize procurement of Chinese goods and services.

The action, announced by National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien on Friday, implies reviewing laws and regulations and potential “executive actions.” This comes in response to what the US sees as China’s attempts to target information systems of the American government for personnel records, military plans, and other data through cyber and other means. 

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“For this reason, the United States must take corresponding actions to protect American interests,” O’Brien said in a statement, adding that China poses “the single greatest national security threat.” He further stated that the US must “adjust regulations and policies and take other necessary actions” to reduce the risk of technical and human espionage activities from the Asian power. 

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The statement stops short of naming the products that can fall under the measures, while it is also unclear how they can be implemented. China’s imports have previously been targeted amid the trade war between the world’s two largest economies and in two separate blacklists of Chinese enterprises that Washington considers a security threat. The designation resulted in barring US government agencies from using federal funds to purchase equipment from Huawei and ZTE among other restrictions.

Dozens of other Chinese companies found themselves in the infamous Entity List, that essentially prohibits American firms from doing business with listed enterprises without getting a green-light from the US government. On Thursday, the Department of Commerce added energy major Chinese National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) to the blacklist.

Another ban prohibits US investors from putting their money into Chinese enterprises the US alleges have military ties. Those firms are presented in the list provided by the Pentagon. The latest expansion to that list came earlier this week. The Department of Defense added nine companies to it, including major smartphone maker Xiaomi and the Commercial Aircraft Corp of China (COMAC), that is developing a narrow body jet that could potentially compete with the Boeing 737 family.

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