United States President Donald Trump has signed an executive order banning US investments in Chinese firms Washington claims are owned or controlled by the Chinese military, ramping up pressure on Beijing after the US election.
The order, which was first reported by Reuters, could affect some of China’s biggest companies, including telecoms firms China Telecom Corp Ltd, China Mobile Ltd and surveillance equipment maker Hikvision.
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The move is designed to deter US investment firms, pension funds and others from buying and selling shares of 31 Chinese companies that were designated by the defence department as backed by the Chinese military earlier this year.
The order will ban any transaction by US investors in their securities starting on January 11, nine days before Trump is due to leave office and Democratic President-elect Joe Biden is scheduled to be inaugurated.
In his executive order, Trump said he found China was “increasingly exploiting United States capital to resource and to enable the development and modernization of its military, intelligence, and other security apparatuses, which continues to allow the PRC to directly threaten the United States homeland and United States forces overseas”.
The move indicates Trump, who was defeated by Biden in the November 3 election, is seeking to take advantage of the waning months of his administration to ramp up pressure on Beijing.
Thursday’s action is likely to further weigh on already fraught ties between the world’s two biggest economies, which are at loggerheads over intensifying strategic rivalry, China’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic and its move to impose security legislation on Hong Kong.