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China opposes ‘illegal sanctions’ after proposed EU trade curbs

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China said it firmly opposes “illegal sanctions” in a response to the European Union’s proposal to impose trade restrictions on three Chinese firms as part of efforts to hobble Russia’s war efforts in Ukraine, according to Bloomberg. 

“We are aware of the relevant reports,” the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement. “China firmly opposes illegal sanctions or ‘long-arm jurisdiction’ against China on the grounds of cooperation between China and Russia.” 

Brussels is considering new restrictions on about two dozen firms, including three based in China and one in India. If member states approve the plan, it would be the first time the EU has imposed curbs on businesses in mainland China and India since Russia invaded Ukraine. 

Tensions between Europe and China have been building recently, with Brussels kicking off a probe into Chinese electric vehicle manufacturers, Beijing launching an anti-dumping investigation into EU liquor products and the Netherlands striking a secret deal with the US to limit ASML Holding NV’s deliveries of sensitive chip-making equipment to China. 

The new proposal would ban European firms from trading with the entities as part of the bloc’s efforts to crack down on Russia’s ability to get its hands on sanctioned goods through companies in third countries. Companies in Hong Kong, Serbia and Turkey also are on the list.

“Chinese and Russian enterprises carry out normal exchanges and cooperation and do not target third parties, nor should they be interfered with or influenced by third parties,” China’s foreign ministry said. 

Beijing “will take necessary measures to resolutely safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese enterprises,” it added.

The EU previously proposed targeting Chinese companies last year, but the plan was dropped following resistance from some member states and after Beijing offered reassurances that it was not supporting Russian military operations.