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  • Writer's pictureStephen Fodor

Worsening U.S.-China Tensions Put Companies in Crosshairs

January 12, 2021

(Bloomberg) The Trump administration’s final days are proving as confounding as ever for companies and investors stuck in the middle of an increasingly contentious U.S.-China relationship.

After a week of widespread confusion over the scope of a U.S. ban on investments in businesses linked to China’s military, both Washington and Beijing took steps over the weekend that threaten to further ratchet up tensions and cloud the outlook for cross-border commerce.

Secretary of State Michael Pompeo upended decades of U.S. policy on Saturday by removing self-imposed restrictions on how government officials interact with Taiwan, eliciting swift calls for retaliation by China’s state-run media. Pompeo’s announcement came just a few hours before Beijing issued new rules that would allow Chinese courts to punish global companies for complying with foreign sanctions -- a move that could theoretically force businesses to choose between the world’s two largest economies.

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