China is warning that US export controls levied against five Chinese manufacturers have the potential to further disrupt global supply chains.
America has ramped up tensions with China by putting five Chinese firms on a so-called “entities list” that bars them from trading with US firms unless they have an “unobtainable” licence.
But China's commerce ministry has urged the US government to “immediately correct its wrongdoing and stop its unreasonable suppression of Chinese companies”, claiming it is an illegal act that endangers global supply chains.
Beijing has responded angrily to the move, calling it a “unilateral sanction” that has “no basis in international law”.
The statement by China's Commerce Ministry continued: “It is a typical unilateral sanction and a form of ‘long-arm jurisdiction’ which seriously damages the legitimate rights and interests of enterprises and affects the security and stability of the global supply chain. China firmly opposes this.”
The blacklisted firms – Allparts Trading Co Ltd; Avtex Semiconductor Ltd; ETC Electronics Ltd; Maxtronic International Co Ltd; and STK Electronics Co Ltd – are all registered in Hong Kong. The firms have reportedly helped Russia in its war against Ukraine, the US has claimed.
"The United States is acting with speed and coordination in response to Putin’s egregious violation of international law,” said US deputy commerce secretary Don Graves.
The five Chinese firms are among 28 businesses, or “entities”, the US suspects “have been involved, are involved, or pose a significant risk of being or becoming involved in activities contrary to the national security or foreign policy interests of the United States”.
The US commerce department said the entities named are “attempting to evade export controls and acquiring or attempting to acquire US-origin items in support of Russia’s military and/or defence industrial base.”
China maintains it remains neutral over the Russia/Ukraine conflict, and in a statement, foreign minister Qin Gang said: “China will not provide weapons to relevant parties of the conflict, and [will] manage and control the exports of dual-use items in accordance with laws and regulations.”
The blacklisting by the US government follows reports in February that sanctions would be imposed against Chinese company, Changsha Tianyi Space Science and Technology Research Institute Co. Ltd. The US Commerce Department claimed the company was supplying Russia's army affiliates with satellite imagery of Ukraine.
A further 36 Chinese companies were placed on America’s entities list last December, while in October Washington unveiled expert controls designed to prevent China from developing high-end chips.