Asia-Pacific News

China says any further action against companies like Huawei could escalate tensions

China's Commerce Ministry warned Thursday that U.S. actions against companies such as Huawei could escalate trade tensions.

On Wednesday, U.S. President Donald Trump declared a national emergency over threats against American technology. The U.S. Department of Commerce subsequently announced the addition of Huawei Technologies and its affiliates to the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) Entity List. Now U.S. businesses will need a license to sell or transfer technology to Huawei, likely making it far more difficult for the Chinese telecom giant to conduct business with them.

We ask the U.S. to stop further actions, so Chinese companies can have a more normal environment to trade, to avoid further escalation of U.S.-China trade tensions, spokesperson Gao Feng said in Mandarin during a press conference Thursday, according to a CNBC translation.

He criticized the use of national security as a tool for protectionism, and emphasized that overseas operations of Chinese companies should respect local laws.

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Trade tensions between the U.S. and China took a negative turn in the last two weeks, upsetting expectations that both sides would soon reach a deal. The U.S. raised tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods on Friday, and China retaliated Monday with plans for tariffs on $60 billion worth of U.S. goods set to take effect June 1.

Gao said Beijing has not received any details on a U.S. visit to China for further trade negotiations. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin plans to visit Beijing in the near future, according to a Dow Jones report.

On the topic of a meeting between Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping next month, the Ministry of Commerce referred CNBC to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.