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US blacklists Chinese chipmaker SMIC and oil producer CNOOC

Move brings total number of blacklisted Chinese companies to 35

US and China chess pieces. (Getty Images) 

US and China chess pieces. (Getty Images) 

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Trump administration on Thursday (Dec. 3) added China’s largest semiconductor firm, SMIC, and oil company CNOOC to a blacklist of alleged Chinese military companies.

The Department of Defense designated a total of four companies as either being owned or controlled by the People’s Liberation Army (PLA): Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp. (SMIC), China National Offshore Oil Corp. (CNOOC), China Construction Technology Co. Ltd., and China International Engineering Consulting Corp, according to CNBC. This brings the total number of blacklisted firms to 35.

President Donald Trump signed an executive order in November banning Americans from investing in Chinese companies that are owned or controlled by the Chinese military. Investors have until November 2021 to divest from the firms.

U.S. officials have long said that Chinese companies are controlled by the government and collect sensitive information for the PLA. Beijing claims that it does not engage in industrial espionage.

SMIC, which relies heavily on equipment from U.S. companies, has been on Washington’s radar for some time. In September, the U.S. Commerce Department notified companies that they would need to apply for a license in order to work with SMIC, saying there was an “unacceptable risk” that U.S. equipment could be used for Chinese military purposes, according to Reuters.

The Chinese Embassy in Washington referred Reuters to previous comments made by its Foreign Ministry spokesperson that “China firmly opposes the politicization of the relevant Chinese companies.”

Thursday’s move follows a House bill passed on Wednesday (Dec. 2) that could prevent Chinese firms failing to adhere to U.S. auditing standards from listing their shares on U.S. stock exchanges. The measure, the Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act, passed by unanimous vote, after passing the Senate by unanimous consent in May, will now be sent to Trump, who is expected to sign it into law.

Updated : 2022-01-23 05:17 GMT+08:00