Trump strengthens the ban on US investments in China, days before leaving office

The White House said on Wednesday that President Donald Trump signed an order tightening a November ban on US investments in so-called Chinese military companies, limiting China’s access to US capital markets days before he leaves office.

Under the revised directive, by November 11, 2021, US investors will be required to fully liquidate their holdings of corporate securities that the Defense Department has identified as owned or controlled by the Chinese military.

The change extends the scope of the Initial Executive Order for November, which barred only US investors from purchasing those securities by that date. Reuters had previously reported that the change was under consideration.

“Today’s executive order ensures that the United States maintains a primary tool to protect American investors from financing Chinese military modernization,” a senior administration official told Reuters.

The executive order is part of Trump’s attempt to cement his hard-line legacy over China in the final days of his presidency.

It also sought to bolster a 1999 law that mandated the Defense Ministry to draft a list of Chinese companies it believed owned or controlled by the Chinese military.

Among the 35 companies blacklisted by the Ministry of Defense so far are China’s major chip maker SMIC and oil giant CNOOC.

But Reuters and other outlets reported earlier on Wednesday that the administration had canceled plans to blacklist tech giants Alibaba, Baidu and Tencent.

The Chinese embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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