European companies concerned over China's anti-sanctions law

·2-min read
EU and Chinese flags
EU and Chinese flags

Beijing [China], June 10 (ANI): European companies have expressed discontent over a new Chinese anti-sanctions law, saying they are alarmed by the lack of transparency in the process.

The law is expected to pass on Thursday at the closing session of the National People's Congress Standing Committee.

According to South China Morning Post, this will be the first major legal move by Beijing to retaliate against sanctions imposed by Western nations over China's handling of Xinjiang and Hong Kong.

"European companies in China are alarmed by the lack of transparency in this process - the first reading was never announced, and there is no draft to examine," said Joerg Wuttke, president of the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China.

"Such action is not conducive to attracting foreign investment or reassuring companies that increasingly feel that they will be used as sacrificial pawns in a game of political chess," Wuttke added.

Though details of the law have not been announced, state media said it was aimed at building a legal basis for China to retaliate against foreign sanctions.

This comes after the US, the European Union, Britain and Canada sanctioned Chinese officials accused of human rights abuses in Xinjiang, prompting retaliatory countermeasures from Beijing.

China has used various tools to respond to pressure from foreign sanctions in the past. In January, the Ministry of Commerce issued a "blocking statute" requiring Chinese companies to report any foreign restrictions on economic or trade activities.

Observers believe that the law would put pressure on foreign businesses to stop complying with Western sanctions as they could face retaliation in China.

Jiao Hongchang, head of the law school at the University of Political Science and Law in Beijing, said there are precedents for not making the first draft public, citing the Hong Kong National Security Law as an example

"People would know our bottom line if it were announced, and it would have an impact on the drafting of the law," he said. "On issues relating to national security, it could be decided not to make the announcement". (ANI)