Trump bars U.S. investments in Chinese military-linked firms

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The Trump administration on Thursday signed an executive order barring Americans from investing in a group of Chinese companies that the White House says support the country’s military.

Who’s barred: The Defense Department earlier this year released a list of 31 firms it believes are tied to the Chinese military, including telecom giants Huawei and China Telecom, as well as infrastructure, energy and surveillance device firms.

When it happens: After Jan. 11, 2021, any investment from an American person or entity in those companies or others identified by the DOD and Treasury Department would be prohibited.

Why do it: The move is necessary, the White House said, because China funds its military in part by selling stock in these companies in U.S. financial markets.

“In that way, the [Chinese government] exploits United States investors to finance the development and modernization of its military,” the order reads.

Why now: The executive order is one in a series of last-minute actions the Trump administration is expected to take before President-elect Joe Biden takes office on Jan. 20. Other potential areas for action include immigration, health care and school choice.

What’s next: It’s unclear how Biden will deal with this and other last-minute Trump moves. His transition team declined to comment on the order.

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