China targets foreign firms on 'unreliable entities' list as US trade war intensifies

Suban Abdulla
·2 min read
China drew up its own list after the Trump administration imposed extra tariffs and curbs on Chinese goods and Huawei. Photo: Getty
China drew up its own list after the Trump administration imposed extra tariffs and curbs on Chinese goods and Huawei. Photo: Getty

China’s commerce ministry released details of its ‘unreliable entities’ blacklist on Saturday, which was first announced in May last year.

While Beijing announced the new regulations it hasn’t published the list yet, but it ups the ante in the trade war with the Trump administration.

It comes after US president Donald Trump, imposed curbs on Huawei and additional tariffs on Chinese goods. In retaliation, China said it would draw up its own list.

It targets foreign firms and individuals violating normal market transactions in the country — interrupting deals with Chinese firms — or taking discriminatory measures against Chinese companies.

The list will help “safeguard national sovereignty, security and development interests, maintain a fair and free international economic and trade order, and protect the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese enterprises, other organisations or individuals”, the ministry said.

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Firms that end up on the blacklist could be banned from investing in China or importing or exporting in China.

Other actions, include entry restrictions on workers entering the country, revoking work or residence permits and imposing fines.

The ministry said that there is scope for companies to be taken off the list, providing they correct the behaviour and take steps to eliminate the consequences of their actions. It will also set up a system and office to execute work related to the list.

In May, state-owned media outlet Global Times said that China could put companies like Apple (AAPL), Qualcomm (QCOM) and Cisco (CSCO) on the list in retaliation for US restrictions on Huawei.

On Friday, the Trump administration moved to ban downloads of Chinese apps TikTok and WeChat from US app stores on national security grounds. In retaliation, TikTok and parent company ByteDance filed a suit on Friday night in Washington against the Trump administration to block the ban.

China’s commerce ministry condemned the ban and has urged the US to stop “bullying behaviour and wrongdoing.”