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China and the US 'are about to ride a bumpy journey,' state news agency says

  • A commentary piece published by Chinese state news agency Xinhua warns of a "bumpy" trade journey with the U.S. in 2018 after the proposed MoneyGram-Ant Financial deal falls through
  • China's foreign ministry asks for "fair and predictable environment" in the U.S. for Chinese enterprises
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Feng Li | Getty Images

China warned of a "bumpy journey" in trade with the U.S. and "retaliatory measures" a day after Washington blocked MoneyGram's proposed sale to a financial services firm affiliated with Chinese tech giant Alibaba.

"It is not surprising that a number of Chinese companies have hit the buffers in Washington as trade tensions between the two countries are flaring," state news agency Xinhua said in a commentary published on Wednesday afternoon.

On Tuesday, the U.S. government torpedoed MoneyGram's multi-million-dollar merger with Ant Financial, which is controlled by Alibaba founder Jack Ma.

A U.S. government panel rejected the deal due to national security concerns, Reuters reported, citing sources familiar with confidential discussions.

The current U.S. administration has taken a tough stance on the sale of U.S. companies to Chinese entities, with the MoneyGram deal the latest to fall through.

That decision came despite high-profile meetings between President Donald Trump and his Chinese counter, Xi Jinping, last year that were seemingly amicable.

Xinhua said on Wednesday the U.S. "is stuck in a zero-sum mentality," and "U.S. politicians have failed to catch up with China's understanding of cooperation and adopted an increasingly protective and isolationist approach."

"The bonhomie that grew between China and the United States in Beijing in November, when the two signed hundreds of billions of dollars of deals, seems to be fading away as the U.S. side is stuck in a zero-sum mentality," the commentary said.

"China and the United States are about to ride a bumpy journey in trade in 2018 if the U.S. government goes it own way, and retaliatory measures by China could be on the table," it added.

The Xinhua comments followed comments from China's foreign ministry on Wednesday afternoon on the same issue.

"The Chinese government always encourages Chinese enterprises to conduct outward investment and cooperation in accordance with market principles and on the basis of abiding by the local laws and regulations," said Geng Shuang, the ministry's spokesman.

"Meanwhile, we also hope the U.S. will provide a fair and predictable environment for the Chinese enterprises to invest and develop there," he added.