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  • The move ratcheted up tensions ahead of high-level trade talks in Washington this week.

    The move ratcheted up tensions ahead of high-level trade talks in Washington this week. | Photo: Reuters

Published 8 October 2019

The U.S. government on Monday expanded its trade blacklist to 28 firms, including China’s top artificial intelligence startups.

China strongly urged the United States to remove sanctions on Chinese firms and will take any necessary measures to firmly protect its own interests, China’s commerce ministry said in a statement late Tuesday.

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Round 13: China-US Trade Talks Get Underway in Tense Atmosphere

The move ratcheted up tensions ahead of high-level trade talks in Washington this week. According to the new International Monetary Fund chief Kristalina Georgieva, the trade-war could cost an increasingly fragile global economy about US$700 billion, or 0.8 percent of GDP, by 2020.

The U.S. government on Monday expanded its trade blacklist to 28 firms, including China’s top artificial intelligence startups, saying it was in reaction to Beijing’s treatment of Muslim minorities. 

China’s official also demanded the U.S. to stop making irresponsible remarks on the northwest Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region issue and to stop interfering in China’s internal affairs.

This comes as the U.S. Commerce Department blacklisted 20 Chinese public security bureaus and eight companies in a filing released after U.S. markets closed on Monday.

The list includes video surveillance firm Hikvision, along with SenseTime, one of the world's most valuable AI unicorns - privately held startup company valued at over US$1 billion -, valued at around US$4.5 billion and its fellow AI giant Megvii, which is valued at around US$4 billion U.S. dollars.

Entities on the list are barred from doing business with U.S. companies without being granted a U.S. government license. The move follows the same blueprint with the blacklist of China's tech giant Huawei Technologies Co Ltd.

Hikvision said that the move would "deter global companies from communicating with the U.S. government, hurt Hikvision's U.S. business partners and negatively impact the U.S. economy."

The move was made as both nations launched the 13th round of talks Monday aimed at resolving the two nations’ 15-month trade war.

The talks are aimed to end to the tit-for-tat trade war that has shocked global markets and economic projections for months. Trade-deputies set up the ground for the ministerial-level negotiations during September, as both countries made conciliatory gestures ahead of the next round of talks, but a deal remains elusive.

About 30 Chinese officials, led by Vice Finance Minister Liao Min, entered the U.S. Trade Representative’s office for two days of negotiations, to be followed by the first minister-level trade talks in more than two months.

The White House and China’s state media confirmed that the high-level talks, involving Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party and chief of the China-U.S. comprehensive economic dialogue, will hold the economic and trade consultations with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin from Oct. 10 to 11.

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