01/15/2021, 14.00
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Xi Jinping turns to Starbucks for help after new Trump sanctions

State enterprise administrators, members of the Chinese Communist Party, military officials and large companies such as CNOOC and Xiaomi targeted. Those who contribute to China's "coercive" actions in the South China Sea also on the list. Xi asks US multinationals to favour commercial relations between the two countries.

Beijing (AsiaNews) - US President Donald Trump yesterday authorized new sanctions against a series of public officials and Chinese companies: one of the latest blows against Beijing before handing over his role as "commander in chief" to Democrat Joe Biden on January 20.

In the latest wave of restrictions, Trump is targeting administrators of Chinese state-owned enterprises, members of the Chinese Communist Party and senior officers of the Armed Forces. Washington holds them responsible for coercion against countries contesting Beijing's territorial claims in the South China Sea.

For the same reason, the oil giant Cnooc is also on the blacklist. Telephony giant Xiaomi and eight other Chinese companies have also been affected: the US administration accuses them of being linked to the People's Liberation Army. Under a Trump executive order, which went into effect on January 11, US investors will have to divest from sanctioned Chinese companies.

Since 2018 Trump has launched a campaign to boycott Chinese tech companies, part of a wider geopolitical conflict with the Asian giant; the most affected are those involved in the development of the 5G internet network (Huawei), artificial intelligence and microchips.

One year ago, in an attempt, a year ago the two sides signed a preliminary agreement (the so-called "phase one") with which China committed to buying around 184 billion euros in goods and services from the United States by the end of 2021. The target was not achieved; Beijing justified itself by arguing that this is due to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

Pending Biden's inauguration, and a possible easing of US pressure, Chinese President Xi Jinping is trying to "build bridges" with large US companies, always on the look out to increase their activities in China. Xinhua yesterday released a letter from Xi to Howard Schultz, former president of the Starbucks coffee chain. In the missive, the Chinese leader says that Beijing will continue to open up its market to foreign companies. He adds that Starbucks can play an active role in promoting bilateral relations and business cooperation between the two countries.

For the moment, Biden does not intend to lift duties imposed by Trump on Chinese exports. In the US Congress there is a cross-cutting agreement between Democrats and Republicans to maintain a firm trade policy against China. The Chinese government is accused of systematically breaking the rules of the World Trade Organization, stealing technological secrets and subsidizing its own companies (public and private).

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