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China Halts Licenses For US Companies Amid Tariff Battle

As the tariff battle between Washington and Beijing worsens, China has halted license applications from American companies in financial services and other industries until progress is made towards settling the trade dispute, reports APciting an official belonging to a business group.

The disclosure marks the first public acknowledgement that US companies expect their operations in China, or access to China’s markets, may be disrupted by the dispute over Beijing’s technology policy.

China is running out of American imports for penalties in response to U.S. President Donald Trump’s tariff hikes, which has prompted worries that Chinese regulators might target operations of U.S. companies.

The license delay applies to industries Beijing has promised to open to foreign competitors, according to Jacob Parker, vice president for China operations of the U.S.-China Business Council. The group represents some 200 American companies that do business with China. –CNBC

In meetings held over the last three weeks, Cabinet-level officials told USCBC reps that applications from US firms will be put off “until the trajectory of the US-China relationship improves and stabilizes,” according to Parker.

Chinese officials, meanwhile, have promised to increase non-US foreign access to several areas, including banking, insurance, securities and asset management.

“There seem to be domestic political pressures that are working against the perception of U.S. companies receiving benefits” amid the dispute, said Parker, who added that Chinese officials want an end to Trump’s tariff hikes as well as a negotiated settlement.

Beijing matched Trump’s earlier tariff increase on $50 billion of imports but is running out of American goods for retaliation due to their lopsided trade balance. China bought American goods worth about $1 for every $3 of goods it exported to the United States.

Trump is poised to decide whether to raise duties on $200 billion of Chinese goods. Beijing has issued a $60 billion list of goods for retaliation. CNBC

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