China warns it could soon blacklist select US companies as the global trade war flares

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  • China-backed media outlet Global Times tweeted early Tuesday that the government will soon release a blacklist of US companies, a move that could prompt sanctions against the firms and harm trade negotiations.
  • The outlet noted the “unreliable entities” list’s release was sped up to rebuke the US House of Representative’s Xinjiang bill. The legislation calls for sanctions against Chinese officials involved in alleged abuses of Uighur Muslims living in the Xinjiang region.
  • The news sets a new hurdle for trade negotiations between the economic superpowers. The trade tensions are poised to reach new highs December 15, when President Trump faces a deadline to add new tariffs on Chinese imports.
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A China-backed media outlet warned the government will soon release an “unreliable entities” list of US companies, a move that could prompt sanctions against the firms and obstruct US-China trade negotiations.

The Global Times tweeted early Tuesday that the blacklist’s release was sped up to respond to the US House of Representatives’ Xinjiang bill. The legislation, sponsored by Republican Senator Marco Rubio, calls for sanctions against Chinese government officials involved in alleged abuses of Uighur Muslims living in the country’s Xinjiang region.

The House is expected to vote on the Xinjiang bill Tuesday. The latest draft amends a version passed unanimously in the Senate in September.

The bill’s passage would likely prompt action against US officials as well, Global Times editor-in-chief Hu Xijin tweeted Tuesday. The editor noted that China is mulling visa restrictions against government officials and lawmakers “who’ve had odious performance on Xinjiang issue,” and may even bar all US diplomatic passport holders from Xinjiang.

China hasn’t said which US firms would be included on such a list, and hasn’t specified how it may retaliate against such companies.

The country’s foreign ministry dodged a question on the blacklist at a Tuesday news briefing, Bloomberg reported, noting that China will continue to fight foreign interference in domestic affairs.

“China will take further necessary measures according to the development of the situation,” ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said, according to Bloomberg.

Global Times’ tweet comes as a second Tuesday hit to investors hoping for a trade truce between the economic superpowers. President Trump said Tuesday he may wait until after the 2020 presidential election to ink a deal with China, lowering expectations for any resolution before a December 15 tariff deadline.

“I have no deadline, no,” Trump told reporters in London. “In some ways I think it is better to wait until after the election, if you want to know the truth.”

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell more than 250 points in early trading amid the trade war flare-up.

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