A Tencent sign at the 2020 China International Fair for Trade in Services in Beijing, China, September 4 2020. Picture: REUTERS/TINGSHU WANG
A Tencent sign at the 2020 China International Fair for Trade in Services in Beijing, China, September 4 2020. Picture: REUTERS/TINGSHU WANG

Washington  — The Trump administration has scrapped plans to blacklist Chinese tech giants Alibaba, Tencent and Baidu, four people familiar with the matter said, providing a brief reprieve to Beijing's top corporates amid a broader crackdown by Washington.

Senior officials in the administration had been considering plans to add the firms to a list of alleged Chinese military companies, which would have subjected them to a new US investment ban.

But Treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin, who is widely seen as taking a more dovish stance on China, pushed back, freezing the plans. Even so, the Trump administration plans to move forward this week with a bid to add as many as nine other Chinese companies to the list, one of the people said.

The Treasury and state departments and the Pentagon did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The abrupt decision underscores the divisions within Washington on China policy, even as outgoing President Donald Trump seeks to cement his China legacy and lock president-elect Joe Biden into aggressive measures against the world's second-largest economy.

In December, the White House added China's top chipmaker, Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation, and oil giant Cnooc to the blacklist.

Trump also unveiled an executive order in January banning US transactions with eight Chinese apps including Ant's Alipay.

While Trump touted a trade deal agreed to by the rival nations, relations between Washington and Beijing soured in 2020 over China's handling of the deadly coronavirus and its crackdown on freedoms in Hong Kong.

Reuters 

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