Washington’s latest bill targeting Chinese firms ‘destined to’ weigh on US economy: expert

Source:Global Times Published: 2019/12/11 17:48:40

An electric bus, manufactured by Chinese company BYD, arrives in the port of San Antonio, in the region of Valparaiso, Chile, July 31, 2019. (Xinhua/Jorge Villegas)

The latest US defense-policy bill barring the use of state funds to buy Chinese buses and rail cars has triggered strong dissatisfaction among targeted Chinese companies. Some warned that such way of suppressing Chinese companies could lead to the loss of hundreds of jobs in the US, crippling US' competitiveness and inflicting massive harm on the US economy.

The unfair decision, "crafted from special interests," could "squash competition in the electric bus sector … and undercut the US' [efforts] against climate change," new energy vehicle (NEV) maker BYD, one of the Chinese firms affected by the bill, said in a statement sent to the Global Times on Wednesday.

The US House of Representatives and Senate Republicans and Democrats have agreed on the language for the National Defense Authorization Act, the Wall Street Journal reported. Under the legislation which is expected to pass this week, Washington will ban the use of federal funds to purchase buses and passenger rail cars made by Chinese manufacturers. 

The US subsidiaries of Shenzhen-based BYD and rail giant CRRC Corporation will be affected by the bill. 

BYD, which is one of the three major electric bus manufacturers in the US, described the decision as "a slap in the face" to union workers in the US electric vehicle sector. But the NEV-maker stressed that the bill won't affect private clients that don't use federal dollars for their purchases. 

The final bill includes a two-year delay on implementation, according to media reports. BYD said it will continue to grow its business. 

CRRC had not responded to the Global Times' interview request as of press time. The firm has won contracts to supply subway cars in Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles and Philadelphia. Some reports estimate those deals could be worth $2.7 billion.  

Chinese observers pointed out that the defense bill is another example of how Washington resorted to bullying tactics to assault Chinese firms, after launching a bid to batter Huawei Technologies. 

"Electric buses and rail cars are transportation methods for civil purposes. How could the US government justify the bill with so-called 'national security concerns?'" Gao Lingyun, an expert at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing, told the Global Times on Tuesday. 

Gao stressed that such a move - flouting global economic rules and disrupting the global industrial chain - "is destined to" weigh on the US' flagging economy and hurt its domestic consumers' legitimate interests. 

In November, the Los Angeles Department of Transportation purchased 130 all-electric buses from BYD, marking the largest order of electronic buses in US history. The Chinese company has created 1,000 jobs since entering the US market in 2013.


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