China Won't Target U.S. Companies in Trade Dispute, SCMP Says

(Bloomberg) -- China has no plan to target U.S. companies operating in the nation amid escalating trade tensions, as that would run counter to Beijing’s goal of attracting foreign investments, South China Morning Post reported on Sunday, citing unidentified people.

The policy makers sought to reassure foreign businesses in China amid fears that the Beijing government would retaliate for U.S. President Donald Trump’s proposed tariffs on Chinese goods by harassing American firms or depriving them of commercial opportunities, the Hong Kong-based newspaper reported, citing "two Chinese government sources." The option of targeting these business "has never been on the cards," according to one of the people.

President Xi Jinping met with executives of overseas firms on Thursday, SCMP said. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. President David Solomon, United Parcel Service Inc. Chairman David Abney and Pfizer Inc. Chief Operating Officer Albert Bourla were among top executives at the meeting, according to the newspaper.

The meeting came amid signs that a trade spat between the world’s two largest economies is escalating. Last week, Trump identified $200 billion in Chinese imports for additional tariffs of 10 percent -- with another $200 billion after that if Beijing retaliates. He’s already announced tariffs on $50 billion of goods from China, starting July 6 with an initial $34 billion worth of imports. China had said it’s "fully prepared" to respond.

Xi’s promises that China’s market would remain open sent "a very clear message from the top leadership" that U.S. companies were still welcome, the newspaper cited one of the people as saying.

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