Caixin
Jan 28, 2021 06:12 AM
WORLD

China Hopes for Reversal of Trump’s Policy of ‘Suppressing Chinese Companies’

China hopes the new U.S. government will reverse the Trump administration’s policy of "suppressing Chinese companies," the Chinese Foreign Ministry said Wednesday.

The ministry made its comment after Gina Raimondo, U.S. President Joe Biden's pick for secretary of commerce, vowed during her confirmation hearing Tuesday to use all policy tools to counter China's alleged "unfair" trade practices.

When asked about Raimondo's remarks, Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told reporters that the Trump administration "blatantly engaged in unilateral, protectionist and bullying practices."

"It waged trade wars, overstretched the concept of national security, abused various excuses and lists, did all it could to suppress Chinese companies, and coerced other countries into giving up their cooperation with Chinese businesses,” Zhao said.

"We hope the United States will learn from its lessons, correct the mistakes, earnestly respect the principles of market economy and fair competition, and foster an open, fair, just and nondiscriminatory environment for foreign companies investing and operating in the United States," he said.

If confirmed, Raimondo will inherit a U.S. Commerce Department that played a key role in the Trump administration’s use of multiple tools, including trade blacklists, punitive duties and anti-dumping and countervailing investigations, against China.

Raimondo, who is the governor of Rhode Island, said she planned to be “very aggressive” in combating China’s “unfair” trade practices.

“Whether it’s the Entity List or tariffs or countervailing duties, I intend to use all those tools to the fullest extent possible to level the playing field for the American worker,” she said. “I believe in free trade but fair trade.”

More than 300 Chinese entities, including the telecom equipment giant Huawei, were placed on the Commerce Department’s “Entity List,” designed to cut off Chinese companies from supply chains in the U.S. and block American enterprises from doing business with them.

Janet Yellen, the newly confirmed U.S. Treasury secretary, also struck a tough tone on China during her Congressional confirmation hearing last week.

Yellen told the Senate Finance Committee that she is prepared to "use the full array of tools" against "China's abusive, unfair and illegal practices." She said China is the "most important strategic competitor" of the U.S.

The former Federal Reserve chairwoman also accused China of "undercutting American companies by dumping products, erecting trade barriers and giving illegal subsidies to corporations" as well as "stealing intellectual property" and engaging in such unfair practices as "forced technology transfers."

Gao Ruidong, chief economist at Everbright Securities, said in a Caixin column that compared with Trump’s cabinet, the China policy of Biden’s cabinet would fall somewhere between Obama’s engagement approach and Trump’s decoupling strategy.

The Biden administration would compete with China on technology more intensely, including 5G, artificial intelligence and space, while enhancing cooperation with America’s regional allies in containing China, Gao said.

Contact reporter Lu Zhenhua (zhenhualu@caixin.com) and editor Bob Simison (bobsimison@caixin.com)

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