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German Industry Group Criticizes China Over New Sanctions Law

Brittany Jordan

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BERLIN—Germany’s powerful BDI industry association criticized China on Tuesday for passing the Anti-Foreign Sanctions Laws, which it said sent a worrying signal to investors and companies abroad.

China is one of the most important export markets for German companies outside the European Union’s single market, but concerns over human rights abuses and a crackdown in Hong Kong are putting a strain on political as well as economic ties.

Beijing passed a wide-ranging law last week to counter foreign sanctions, in an apparent move to legalize its tit-for-tat retaliation.

“Instead of relying on a deescalation, the Chinese government is creating new uncertainties. This is damaging China’s reputation as an investment location and trading partner,” BDI board member Wolfgang Niedermark said.

Audi’s new concept AI: ME with automated driving system is presented during the media day for Shanghai auto show in Shanghai, China, on April 17, 2019. (Aly Song/Reuters)

The law was very different from similar laws in the EU as it undermined legal clarity and created a gray area that hung over any company doing business in China, he said.

Senior German government officials and business leaders are openly calling for a diversification of trade relations in Asia to become less dependent on China in the coming years.

The Chinese sanctions against members of the European Parliament and think tanks have already frozen the ratification of the EU–Chinese investment agreement, Niedermark said.

“Instead of reacting with threatening gestures, the Chinese government would be well advised to introduce more constructive elements into the dialogue with its trading partners,” he said.

The new law, effective immediately, builds upon previous administrative counter-measures against foreign sanctions issued by the Chinese foreign and commerce ministries. It also lays out the scope of China’s counter-sanctions.

By Michael Nienaber

Brittany Jordan is an award-winning journalist who reports on breaking news in the U.S. and globally for the Federal Inquirer. Prior to her position at the Federal Inquirer, she was a general assignment features reporter for Newsweek, where she wrote about technology, politics, government news and important global events around the world. Her work has also appeared in the Washington Post, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Toronto Star, Frederick News-Post, West Hawaii Today, the Miami Herald, and more. Brittany enjoys food, travel, photography, and hoarding notebooks and journals. Her goal is to do more longform features journalism, narrative writing and documentary work, and to one day write a successful novel and screenplay.

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