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Wednesday 3 June 2020

Trump pulls billions worth pension fund investment out of China

The US president said he might also pressure Chinese companies to fulfil his condition of being listed on the New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq

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US President Donald Trump has made it clear that his threats to China, backed by several pieces of evidence that the communist state deliberately unleashed coronavirus on humanity, were not empty, with his administration withdrawing billions of dollars of US pension fund investment from China. Simultaneously, the US-China differences over the South China Sea have escalated.

Coronavirus has so far claimed more than 80,000 lives in America.

Over the past couple of years, the US not only began a trade war with China but also accused the Beijing of stealing intellectual property and research work.

China was barely emerging from the fallout of the trade war when its COVID game turned the tables once again. “We just made a great Trade Deal, the ink was barely dry, and the World was hit by the Plague from China. 100 Trade Deals wouldn’t make up the difference — and all those innocent lives lost!” he tweeted.

When asked about the investment withdrawal from China, Trump said in a conversation with Fox Business on Thursday, “Billions of dollars, billions… Yeah, I pulled it back.”

But Trump has enemies within

Meanwhile, the US Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board (FRTIB) has decided to postpone a long-planned change to the composition of its international portfolio, two days after the White House raised concerns about the move. The board manages $ 594bn in assets for 5.9 million workers through its Thrift Savings Plan.

Critics, who said the TSP would have invested government employees’ money into Chinese companies that the Trump administration says threaten the US national interest, see victory in this reversal.

Trump administration officials said the action was in connection with the COVID pandemic. They warned the FRTIB that the Chinese companies it backed could be sanctioned for allegedly “culpable actions of the Chinese government with respect to the global spread of the (coronavirus)”.

Now, China is considering action against US lawmakers who have proposed in the Senate a ban against Beijing on the issue of dealing with the coronavirus. “The Chinese government is lashing out at those who are appropriately trying to hold them accountable for intentionally misleading us about the nature of the novel coronavirus, where it was spreading and how quickly things were getting out of control. I consider their threats a badge of honour,” Congressman Jim Banks said.

But he does what he’s gotta do

When President Trump was asked whether he would pressure Chinese companies to fulfil his condition of being listed on the New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq, he said, “We are looking at that very strongly. It’s pretty amazing but here’s the problem with that. Let’s say we do that, right? So what are they going to do? They are going to move their listing to London or someplace else. You see?”

Trump added, “Let’s say you want to get tough. You know everyone wants to be a tough guy. Look I am the toughest guy but what happens is they say ‘okay, we will move to London or we will go to Hong Kong’.” Trump said this in relation to Chinese companies being listed on the US stock market.

Chinese companies like Alibaba are listed on the New York Stock Exchange, but they do not report earnings — the way an American company does — the interviewer said.

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