Trump Mulls Fresh China Sanctions, Beijing Accuses U.S. of 'Oppressing' Foreign Companies

China has condemned the White House after reports suggested President Donald Trump is considering new sanctions on 89 Chinese companies accused of ties to the country's military.

Reuters reported Monday that the administration is "close" to declaring that 89 Chinese companies are linked to the People's Liberation Army, citing a draft copy of a list seen by the agency.

The designation would prevent these companies from purchasing a range of American goods and technology; bad news for American producers that sell aviation parts to Chinese companies.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told reporters at a daily briefing Monday that Beijing "firmly opposes the unprovoked suppression of Chinese companies by the United States."

"The U.S. should stop extending and stretching the concept of national security to oppress foreign companies," Zhao added. The spokesperson said that all Chinese companies operate in accordance with the law and strictly follow local laws and regulations when operating overseas.

The Trump administration has accused several major Chinese companies of operating as arms of the Chinese state. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has described such companies as "Trojan horses," by which the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and its intelligence apparatus can obtain sensitive American data or industrial technology.

Prominent examples of the Trump administration's effort to sideline such companies are its offensive against the Huawei telecommunications giant, and its push to force the Chinese ByteDance developer to sell its TikTok app.

On Sunday, China's state-media owned China Daily newspaper said America's industrial policy towards China under Trump had been part of the administration's "scaremongering," and likened Pompeo to an "annoying alarm clock has awakened China."

The list seen by Reuters is part of a draft identifying a series of Chinese and Russian companies as "military end users." This will mean that U.S. suppliers must obtain special licenses to sell to them. According to Reuters, these licenses are more often denied than granted.

Among the companies on list is the Commercial Aircraft Corp of China (COMAC), which competes with the Boeing and Airbus aerospace giants. The company has collaborated with Boeing and the Canadian Bombardier corporations to develop commercial aircraft.

Another is the Aviation Industry Corp. of China, a state-owned conglomerate with more than 100 subsidiaries and more than 450,000 employees. In June, the White House put AVIC on a list of firms it said were controlled or owned by the PLA. AVIC is a shareholder in COMAC.

Bloomberg reported that General Electric could be one of the big losers if the new list is published. The corporation is a COMAC supplier and is collaborating with the French Safran SA company on new engines for COMAC's C919 narrow-body plane.

A recent Boeing analysis of the Chinese commercial aviation market predicted the nation's airlines would purchase some 8,600 new planes over the next 20 years for a total of $1.4 trillion. The White House's new designation of China's major aviation firms could block American companies from some of those profits.

China, sanctions, aircraft, airlines, COMAC, Trump, Pompeo
A mock-up scale model of the proposed COMAC C929 aircraft is displayed at the Airshow China 2018 in Zhuhai, China on November 5, 2018. President Donald Trump is considering new sanctions on 89 Chinese companies accused of ties to the country's military. WANG ZHAO/AFP via Getty Images/Getty