Response to Trump: China is preparing a “blacklist” of US companies

The Chinese authorities have accelerated the preparation of the “black list” of companies in the American technology sector and are now deciding when it is best to publish it: before or after the US presidential election. Experts interviewed by Gazeta.Ru are confident that if it comes to real sanctions against members of the “black list”, not only the United States, but also all countries that have not yet strengthened after the coronavirus crisis, including Russia, will be seriously affected.

China is at the finish line of a blacklist of US tech companies, which it promised to create back in May last year after Washington imposed restrictions on telecom giant Huawei Technologies. The Wall Street Journal writes about this, citing sources.

It is likely that work on this list intensified after the demand of the head of the White House, Donald Trump, to sell the North American branch of TikTok to any of the US companies.

According to WSJ interlocutors, a special commission to create a list of “unreliable organizations” from the United States has accelerated its work in recent weeks, although Beijing has repeatedly stated that it will mirror any restrictions on the part of Washington. And, indeed, quite a few such restrictions have been introduced recently for various reasons.

For example, at the end of July, 11 Chinese companies were immediately subject to American restrictions. Then the head of the US Department of Commerce Wilbur Ross said that the restrictions are a guarantee that American goods and technologies “will not be used by the Chinese Communist Party in its aggressive actions against Muslim minorities” (meaning the Uighurs). A month later, another 24 companies were blacklisted due to construction and military maneuvers in the South China Sea.

But in the current situation, it is more important not “why”, but “when”: according to WSJ sources, at the moment the Chinese authorities are still discussing whether to publish this list before or after the US elections. It is specified that

in Beijing, many still hope for a reboot with Washington if Democratic candidate Joe Biden wins. And although in this case the countries will still remain strategic rivals, in some areas Beijing could fruitfully cooperate with the new administration.

In an interview with Gazeta.Ru, Chief Researcher at the Institute of the USA and Canada of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Doctor of Economics Vladimir Vasiliev noted that there is no particular point in publishing this list after the elections, but if it happens about ten days before the elections (that is in the last decade of October – on the same dates, the debate between Trump and Biden will take place), the informational effect of such a decision can be very strong.

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By itself, the publication of such a list does not automatically mean the imposition of sanctions against the relevant companies – rather, it outlines the circle against whom they can be imposed in the first place. But as a political statement from Beijing, this can play a role not only in the outcome of the presidential campaign, but also in the tactics of its opponents.

In this sense, one should not assume that the publication of the “Chinese list” will be a serious blow to Trump, Vladimir Vasiliev believes.

“I think the Trump team is preparing for [the debate], and today they are interested in touching and seeing how Biden behaves when the Chinese card is played. Not from the point of view of what he said about it, but what he will do if he becomes president, ”the scientist told Gazeta.Ru. – And

God forbid Biden will say that he will change something or return to the old formula. Then the current administration may decide that the Chinese direction is really Biden’s weak point, and will begin to actively beat him in this area. “