The European Union has proposed new trade restrictions targeting around two dozen firms, including three based in China, accused of supporting Russia’s war in Ukraine, Bloomberg reported.
This development marks a potential first for the EU in imposing restrictions on companies within mainland China since Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.
The draft proposal, which Bloomberg had access to, also names firms in Hong Kong, Serbia, India, and Türkey, aiming to prevent European companies from engaging in trade with those listed as part of the bloc’s broader strategy to curb Russia’s access to sanctioned goods via third-country entities.
Previously, the EU had considered listing several Chinese firms for sanctions, but these were not pursued due to opposition from some member states and after receiving assurances from Beijing. The situation underscores the delicacy of the EU’s relationship with China, a critical trade partner, especially for Germany, where China serves as a vital market for automobile manufacturers like Volkswagen AG. For the sanctions to take effect, unanimous approval from all EU member states is required, and the proposals are subject to change.
According to Bloomberg, a spokesperson for the commission declined to comment on the specifics of the proposal, and attempts to reach China’s embassy in Brussels for a response were unsuccessful. The firms under scrutiny, primarily from the technology and electronics sectors, are alleged to have played roles in enhancing Russia’s military and technological capabilities or in bolstering its defense and security sector.
The EU has listed over 620 companies in its sanctions regime, predominantly Russian.
In addition to targeting firms, the EU’s latest sanctions package—commemorating two years since Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine—proposes actions against more than 110 individuals and entities, further expanding its efforts to respond to Russia’s ongoing war.