China Vows to Expand Legal ‘Toolkit’ to Fight U.S. Sanctions

Beijing pledged to speed up legislation aimed at countering U.S. sanctions, as it seeks to narrow Washington’s advantages in disputes after the Trump administration levied waves of penalties against China.

Measures were announced by National People’s Congress Standing Committee Chairman Li Zhanshu as part of his annual report to the Chinese legislature Monday. “We will upgrade our legal tool kit for meeting challenges and guarding against risks in order to oppose foreign sanctions, interference and long-arm jurisdiction,” said Li, using language Beijing often employs to criticize American sanctions.

China Vows to Expand Legal ‘Toolkit’ to Fight U.S. Sanctions

While the U.S. and China traded several rounds of sanctions against each other’s officials and companies, Beijing’s measures have yet to be felt across the Pacific due to the dollar’s dominance in international finance. By the time President Donald Trump left office, the U.S. had sanctioned at least 45 Chinese officials over their role in policies involving Hong Kong and Xinjiang, including 15 NPC members.

China has in recent months signaled a desire to level the playing field, an effort that could force multinationals to pick a side. In January, its Ministry of Commerce issued rules that would allow Chinese courts to punish global companies for complying with foreign sanctions, although it gave few details.

The report by Li -- the Communist Party’s No. 3 leader -- also included a nod of support for a more confrontational diplomatic tone, vowing to “promptly voice our views on major issues and matters involving China’s core interests.” On Sunday, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi warned President Joe Biden’s administration not to interfere in its internal affairs and called on the U.S. to end penalties on Chinese companies.

A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman said Monday that the onus to repair ties was on the U.S. after actions that “undermined the bilateral relationship severely” under Trump. “The U.S. has a bigger responsibility to take the initiative in terms of taking action,” spokesman Zhao Lijian told a regular news briefing in Beijing.

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