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Tech tariffs may spark retaliation from China

Tech tariffs may spark retaliation from China

China has signalled it intends to hit back after the Trump administration placed eight of the country’s technology giants on a blacklist over alleged human rights violations against Muslim minorities.

Asked yesterday whether China would retaliate over the blacklist, foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told reporters “stay tuned”. He also denied that the government abused human rights in the far west region of Xinjiang.

“We urge the US side to immediately correct its mistake, withdraw the relevant decision and stop interfering in China’s internal affairs,” Mr Geng said in Beijing.

“China will continue to take firm and forceful measures to resolutely safeguard national sovereignty, security and development interests.”

The White House’s move, announced after US markets closed, came on the same day negotiators from both sides began preparations for Thursday’s high-level talks in Washington.

A US Commerce Department spokesman said the “action is unrelated to the trade negotiations”, and China confirmed vice-premier Liu He would lead the delegation as planned.

Entities on the blacklist are prohibited from doing business with American companies without being granted a US government licence.

This now includes two video surveillance companies – Hangzhou Hikvision Digital Technology and Zhejiang Dahua Technology – that are said to control a third of the global market for video surveillance and have cameras all over the world.

Also targeted were SenseTime Group – the world’s most valuable artificial intelligence startup – and fellow AI giant Megvii Technology, which is aiming to raise up to $1bn in a Hong Kong IPO. Backed by Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding, the pair are at the forefront of China’s ambition to dominate AI in the coming years.

US equity-index futures fell on the news, reversing an earlier gain, while European stocks slipped. US futures also fell after China’s response.

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