Wang Wenbin from China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs takes questions from journalists after urging the US to stop politicising economic and trade issues
Wang Wenbin from China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs takes questions from journalists after urging the US to stop politicising economic and trade issues © REUTERS

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China has spoken out against the Trump administration’s recent sanctions on Chinese military-linked companies, dismissing the notion that their recent removal from major global indices might have an impact on foreign investors’ appetite for investment in the onshore market.

Wang Wenbin, a Beijing-based spokesman for China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, told journalists on Monday that recent decisions by index companies to exclude securities of these sanctioned companies would not keep global investment away.

China urges the US government to “stop politicising economic and trade issues” and to “cease to resort to excessive national power to suppress foreign companies”, Mr Wang said at the regular press briefing.

US president Donald Trump signed an executive order last month prohibiting “US persons” from “transactions” in the securities of 31 Chinese companies that the Department of Defense identified as “Communist Chinese military companies”. The ruling comes into effect on January 11, 2021.

This article was previously published by Ignites Asia, a title owned by the FT Group.

Since the announcement in mid-November, global index providers have been racing to decide how to respond to the order, conducting consultations with their clients and trying to research what they will need to do to adhere to the impending US regulations.

MSCI on Tuesday became the latest of the largest global index firms to reveal its decision on the matter, which is likely to impact billions of dollars in passive investments that track the indices, as well as other investment strategies that are benchmarked against them.

Nasdaq made its announcement on exclusions on Friday.

Mr Wang said on Monday the ministry was aware of Nasdaq's decision but brushed off any suggestion that the index providers’ moves might impact the ability of global investors to access these companies.

“China’s capital markets have increasingly widened access for allocating to stocks of Chinese companies, while very few Chinese firms are excluded from some global indices,” Mr Wang said.

“It won’t prevent international investors from investing in these firms and share the growth of China’s economy,” he said, adding that Mr Trump’s order undermined the interests of global investors and damaged the reputation and national interests of the US.

Similar moves have been made by FTSE Russell and S&P Dow Jones.

*Ignites Asia is a news service published by FT Specialist for professionals working in the asset management industry. It covers everything from new product launches to regulations and industry trends. Trials and subscriptions are available at ignitesasia.com.

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