China is reportedly mulling strategies to deal with any potential trade disputes that may arise with the US after free trade-bashing President-elect Donald Trump takes over the White House on January 20.
In the event that Trump takes punitive measures against Chinese companies and goods, China is likely to respond with intensified scrutiny over US companies operating in the Chinese market, Bloomberg reported on Friday, citing unnamed sources.
China might target well-known US firms for higher tax or antitrust investigations, launch anti-dumping probes into US products, and cut back government purchases of US goods, according to Bloomberg.
There has been no official confirmation of such claims from the Chinese government so far, and they are in contrast to the Chinese government's recent policies and statements on further opening up the domestic market to foreign capital.
Wang Shouwen, vice minister of the Ministry of Commerce, said on Friday that China will not allow institutions and local governments to increase restrictions on foreign investment.
China will better protect the intellectual property rights of foreign investors while ensuring their fair participation in bids for government procurements, Wang said, according to news portal fx168.com.
Huang Yiping, a renowned Chinese economist, also suggested on Friday that, given Trump's tough stance on China and his protectionist trade policy rhetoric, China should consider the potential fallout if Trump imposes higher tariffs on Chinese goods.
If Trump targets Chinese goods for higher tariffs, it would certainly have a negative impact on trade, but "it is still too early to tell if Trump will deliver on his campaign promises," Huang, a member of the monetary policy committee of China's central bank and a professor at Peking University, said during an event in New York, according to ifeng.com.
Huang further warned that Trump's statements and promises during the campaign trial might not become reality, and even if Trump designates China as a "currency manipulator," the effect would still depend on other "substantial" measures, because simply putting such a tag on China will not have direct consequences.