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Trump is considering delisting Chinese companies from US stock exchanges. The move would come as part of a broader effort to limit US investment in Chinese companies and partly motivated by security concerns.
This week was pretty severe when talking about tariffs the US imposed on Chinese goods lifting it every day more and more. When talking about US-China trade war, it’s important to stress out that this is something that started happening already back in the 80’s. However, since Donald Trump is sitting in the White House, the situation is slowly getting out of control – but really.
We can all understand that one’s statesman policy can be about buying more local products, tightening import, expanding export etc, etc. However so far, the US has imposed tariffs on more than $360 billion of Chinese goods, and China answered with tariffs on more than $110 billion of US products.
Only last year, Trump brought three rounds of tariffs and the fourth one in September where he imposed tariffs on literally of everything Chinese – from pork to violins, all with a 15% duty. Beijing, of course, struck back with tariffs ranging from 5% to 25% on US goods including a 5% levy on US crude oil and that’s actually the first time fuel has been hit in the trade battle.
However, Trump decided to take this battle on the whole new level from which, we’re not sure, who is going to profit. His administration threatened to remove all Chinese companies from US stock markets and Minyuan Zhao, an associate professor of strategy at Washington University in St. Louis, said that, since in today’s world, plenty of capital is chasing limited investment opportunities around the world – “cutting US institutions from such opportunities [would] not help the US.” She added:
“The ‘Chinese companies’ listed in the US are usually ‘hybrid companies’ with foreign investments from the very beginning. Take Alibaba, for example. The top five shareholders are Blackrock (US), T. Rowe Price (US), and Baillie Gifford & Company (Scotland), alongside the two co-founders. In earlier years, Softbank (Japan) and Yahoo (US) own[ed] almost half of Alibaba’s equity.”
Soon after this announcement, e-commerce giant Alibaba (BABA) stock was down 5 percent, search engine Baidu dropped almost 4 percent and the depository receipts of online retailer JD.com were down 6 percent, respectively.
And let’s not forget the fact that a lot of US big investors are holding large sizes of stocks in Chinese companies. Zhao wonders if the administration can even decide whether the company is “Chinese enough.” She said:
“Rather than achieving a foreign policy objective, barring US investors from Chinese companies could artificially depress share prices and actually punish US investors more than anyone else.”
Gary Hufbauer, a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, claims that there’s a 30-40% chance Trump delisting Chinese companies that, on a macroeconomic level, could strengthen the dollar and cause interest rate falling to continue.
“I think he’s trying to find anything he can to distract from impeachment,” Hufbauer said.
On Friday, Trump went back on where it all started (at least the newest stage of a trade-war) – on Huawei. Robert Strayer, deputy assistant secretary of state for cyber and international communications and information policy said US President Donald Trump would not ease the ban on Huawei Technologies in exchange for a better trade deal with China. These comments came just a day after the Chinese tech giant’s CEO Ren Zhengfei said Huawei would be willing to exclusively license its 5G technology to a US company to create fairground for competitors.
Huawei, the world’s largest maker of mobile network infrastructure equipment, faces intense inspection in the West over its relationship with China’s government. It has denied US-led allegations that its 5G equipment could be used for spying. Memory-chips maker Micron shares tumbled 11% on Friday after the news the U.S. trade war with China is hurting the company’s business with Huawei.