US blacklists more Chinese companies, including SMIC
Published: Dec 19, 2020 11:19 AM Updated: Dec 19, 2020 07:48 PM

File photo: VCG

The US Commerce Department announced Friday that it added more Chinese companies, including China's leading chipmaker Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp (SMIC), to its Entity List.

The move is widely seen as the latest attempt by the Trump administration to escalate trade tensions and influence public opinion, trying to set up barriers for the incoming Biden administration in taking bilateral relations in a more progressive direction, an expert told Global Times.

According to a statement from the US Commerce Department, the decision by its Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) to add SMIC to the trade blacklist is to "protect US national security," claiming that the action "stems from China's military-civil fusion doctrine and evidence of activities between SMIC and entities of concern in the Chinese military industrial complex." American companies will have to obtain a license to do business with companies on the Entity List.

There had been reports about the new blacklisting move even before the announcement by the US Commerce Department. 

China's Foreign Ministry on Friday criticized the reported move by calling it "another example that the US is using its state power to suppress Chinese companies."

"China will continue to take necessary measures to safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese companies," Wang Wenbin, a spokesperson for the ministry, said at a routine press briefing in Beijing on Friday.

Photo: GT

In September, China issued provisions for the Unreliable Entity List, which is aimed at foreign entities that engage in actions that endanger China's national sovereignty, security or development interests and suspend normal business transactions or take discriminatory measures against a Chinese enterprise, organization or individual.

While observers are generally concerned that Trump's political legacy may squeeze the room the incoming Biden administration has to handle its relations with China, the key question is whether Joe Biden has the willingness to push the US-China relationship in the right direction, said He Weiwen, a former senior trade official and an executive council member of the China Society for World Trade Organization Studies.

"Trump may be striving in his final weeks to reinforce his tough stance on China, but that doesn't mean the Biden administration has to go down that path," He told the Global Times on Saturday.

 "Decisions made by the Trump administration can be overturned by the next administration, such as returning to the Paris Climate Accord," He noted. "The ball is in Biden's hand, whether the Biden administration can take concrete actions to show sincerity in developing US-China relations remains an open question."

Global Times