US 'abusing national security to bully firms'
China said on Thursday the United States was abusing the concept of national security to oppress foreign companies, following reports that Washington may blacklist Chinese financial technology firm Ant Group.
“This is a bullying practice,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said on Thursday.
“China will continue taking necessary measures to safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese companies,” he said.
The US State Department has submitted a proposal for the Trump administration to add Ant Group to a trade blacklist before the financial technology firm is slated to go public.
It was not immediately clear when the US government agencies that decide whether to add a company to the so-called “entity list” would review the matter.
The move comes as China hardliners in the Trump administration are seeking to send a message to deter US investors from taking part in the initial public offering for Ant. The dual listing in Shanghai and Hong Kong could be worth up to a record US$35 billion.
While the Alipay payment app is unavailable for American users in the United States, according to an Ant spokesperson, Trump administration officials claim the company could “access sensitive banking data” belonging to future US users.
The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States stopped its US$1.2 billion bid to buy the money transfer company Moneygram in 2018 over national security risks.