The Biden administration sanctioned 23 Chinese firms on Friday by adding them to a trade blacklist known as the Entity List. Fourteen of the companies were added over alleged human rights abuses in Xinjiang, five were sanctioned for alleged ties to China’s military, and four were blacklisted for doing business with entities under US sanctions.
“The Department of Commerce remains firmly committed to taking strong, decisive action to target entities that are enabling human rights abuses in Xinjiang or that use US technology to fuel China’s destabilizing military modernization efforts,” Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said in a statement.
The entity list prohibits US firms from doing business with the blacklisted companies without obtaining a license. The Commerce Department said in its press release that “the availability of most license exceptions is limited.”
The entity list is part of Washington’s wider trade war against China that was started by the Trump administration and has continued under President Biden. When Raimondo was appointed to head Biden’s Commerce Department, she made it clear that she would use the tools left by the Trump administration to go after China. Almost six months into Biden’s presidency, and Trump’s China tariffs remain in place, and there’s no sign that they will be eased.
The Biden administration has also imposed broader sanctions against Chinese officials and companies over Xinjiang and Hong Kong, picking up where the Trump administration left off. One notable difference between Biden and Trump is that Biden is able to get more US allies to go along with his hardline China policies. In March, the US, EU, Canada, and the UK coordinated Xinjiang sanctions against China.