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14 Feb, 2024 09:11

Beijing reacts to claim EU will target Chinese firms with Russia sanctions

The bloc’s 13th package of economic restrictions on Moscow will reportedly impact companies from third countries for the first time
Beijing reacts to claim EU will target Chinese firms with Russia sanctions

Beijing rejects “illegal sanctions” and will defend the interests of its companies, the Chinese Foreign Ministry has said following a report that the EU could blacklist some of the country’s firms for allegedly helping Russia to evade the bloc’s restrictions.

The EU is planning to place restrictions on three Chinese businesses and one Indian company as part of its 13th round of sanctions on Russia over its conflict with Ukraine, the Financial Times reported on Monday.

Brussels believes the firms in question are helping Moscow to circumvent existing restrictions, especially through the supply of electronic components that can be repurposed for use in drones and other weapons systems. If the plan is approved by member states, it will see the EU sanction companies from mainland China and India – two of the bloc’s key trading partners – for the first time.

”We are aware of the relevant reports,” the Chinese Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Tuesday. “China firmly opposes illegal sanctions or ‘long-arm jurisdiction’ against China on the grounds of cooperation between China and Russia.”

Chinese and Russian companies “carry out normal exchanges and cooperation and do not target third parties, nor should they be interfered with or influenced by third parties,” the ministry said.

Beijing “will take necessary measures to resolutely safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese enterprises.”

According to media reports, the EU was already considering sanctioning Chinese firms over their links with Russia last year, but refrained from doing so after Beijing assured Brussels that it was not supporting Moscow’s military effort in Ukraine.

Indian newspaper the Economic Times claimed on Wednesday that the government in New Delhi was also studying reports that an Indian firm could face sanctions over its dealings with Russia.

The Indian authorities may ask senior EU officials to clarify the situation during their meetings as part of the Raisina Dialogue forum on geopolitics and economy, which will take place in New Delhi next week, according to the outlet.

The paper’s source said it was “curious” that the report had emerged ahead of the high-profile event in the Indian capital.

Since the outbreak of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine in February 2022, both China and India have consistently called for a peaceful resolution of the crisis. Beijing and New Delhi have resisted Western pressure to join sanctions on Moscow, and instead have boosted economic cooperation with Russia, becoming the main destinations for Russian oil.

Chinese customs data shows that trade turnover between the two countries has grown by 26.6% percent in the past year, reaching a record $240 billion. The sales volume between Russia and India in the first ten months of 2023 stood at almost $55 billion, according to the Russian ambassador in New Delhi – an increase of 41% compared to 2022.