China prepares for long fight as US considers expanding ban

Chinese President Xi Jinping delivers his speech during the opening ceremony of the Conference on Dialogue of Asian Civilizations in Beijing, China, on May 15, 2019.
Chinese President Xi Jinping delivers his speech during the opening ceremony of the Conference on Dialogue of Asian Civilizations in Beijing, China, on May 15, 2019. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

BEIJING • A new survey by a top US business lobby revealed yesterday that nearly half of its members have begun seeing non-tariff-barrier retaliation in China, deepening worries that trade friction between the world's top two economies could be further inflamed.

The survey finding came as President Xi Jinping warned that China must prepare for difficult times, and called on citizens to join a "new long march", a phrase he has used before to characterise achieving progress despite hardship.

The American Chamber of Commerce of China and its sister body in Shanghai found that increases in US and Chinese tariffs were having a negative impact on the business of three-quarters of the 250 respondents, as orders were drying up owing to rising manufacturing costs and prices.

The survey also found that 40.7 per cent of respondents were considering or had relocated manufacturing facilities outside China.

Underlining the threat of stronger US restrictions on Chinese technology companies amid the deepening trade war, news reports indicated that the Trump administration was considering Huawei-like sanctions on Chinese video surveillance firm Hikvision.

The US was also considering adding security equipment-maker Dahua and several other unidentified firms to a blacklist.

The reports come in the wake of a visit by President Xi to a Chinese rare earth company this week, which is being seen as a sign of Beijing's intent to use an export ban as a policy weapon against the US.

BLOOMBERG, REUTERS, WASHINGTON POST

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 23, 2019, with the headline 'China prepares for long fight as US considers expanding ban'. Print Edition | Subscribe