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  • Imports from the U.S. are seen at a supermarket in Shanghai, China April 3, 2018.

    Imports from the U.S. are seen at a supermarket in Shanghai, China April 3, 2018. | Photo: Reuters

Published 1 June 2019

The Chinese government will sanction foreign companies that block its international trade through discriminatory measures for political reasons.

China's Commerce Ministry spokesperson Gao Feng said Friday that the Xi Jinping administration is preparing a "unreliable entities list" that will include foreign persons, institutions and companies that block or affect Chinese commercial relations through discriminatory measures motivated by non-commercial reasons.

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"Foreign companies, organizations and individuals that do not respect market norms, that move away from the spirit of a contract, that impose embargoes or cease supplying Chinese companies for non-commercial reasons and seriously damage their legitimate interests and rights, will be placed in a list of unreliable entities," Gao said.

The official stressed that such anti-competitive actions constitute a "risk to national security" and that the names of those companies will be announced later.

Regarding the actions that may be applied to the blacklisted companies, Gao said that China will take legal and administrative measures according to its anti-monopoly, national security and foreign trade laws.

This measure is China's first blunt response to United States President Donald Trump's tech cold war whose latest offensive action was to put the China-based technology company, Huawei, onto a growing blacklist of companies banned from making transactions with U.S. companies.

Google, whose Android operating system is vital to Huawei's smartphones, is among the U.S. companies saying they will comply with Washington's decision.

According to the Trump administration, Huawei is working on behalf of Chinese intelligence services. Others say the Trump-initiated "tech cold war" is an attempt to contain the international growth of Huawei, the world's second largest smartphones producer that is also leading the development of 5G networks.​​​​​

The blacklist announcement was made one day before the Chinese government begins ​​​​to raise its tariffs on certain U.S. imports, a measure that could provide US$60 billion in revenues for the government.

Earlier this week, China also announced possible export restrictions on its rare earth minerals, which have been fundamental to the U.S. technological industry.

On this issue, Gao said that his government is willing to meet other's countries demand for rare earths, but that it would be unacceptable that countries using Chinese raw materials try to take Chinese products out of the market.

The minister questioned President Trump's Thursday declaration that his trade war is having a "devastating effect" on the Chinese economy, claiming the Asian nation's productivity is down and companies are fleeing to other countries to avoid U.S. sanctions.

"The U.S. has already said those lies once or twice," Gao said and added that although China has denied those claims all the time, "the U.S. keeps repeating those lies" obsessively.

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