Washington will not bar Americans from investing in Chinese tech giants Alibaba, Baidu and Tencent as it has done for other firms over national security concerns, The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday.
US officials had weighed whether to include the three companies on a Defense Department trading blacklist due to alleged ties to China’s military but decided against, according to the report.
Alibaba and Baidu trade on the Nasdaq, while Tencent is listed in Hong Kong where Alibaba also has a secondary listing.
Top administration officials disagreed about whether to ban the three companies from US portfolios, with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin ultimately prevailing in a dispute with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, the Journal reported.
The administration of President Donald Trump has continued to confront Beijing even as the clock winds down before President-elect Joe Biden takes office, after years of mounting US-Chinese friction on topics including human rights, trade and the origins of the Covid-19 pandemic.
On Monday, Robert Lighthizer, Trump’s outgoing trade negotiator, urged Biden to maintain tariffs imposed on China, arguing that they have shifted the balance of power in Washington’s favor.
And Pompeo said over the weekend the United States would lift “complex internal restrictions” on contacts with Taipei by diplomats – a jab at Beijing, which opposes any official recognition of Taiwan.