The European Union has proposed new trade restrictions against around 20 companies, including three based in China, accused of supporting Russia’s war efforts in Ukraine.
If passed, it would be the first time the EU has imposed restrictions on businesses in mainland China since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The list also includes companies in Hong Kong, Serbia, India and Turkey, according to a draft proposal seen by Bloomberg.
The restrictions would bar European companies from trading with listed companies as part of the bloc’s efforts to crack down on Russia’s ability to get its hands on sanctioned products through companies in third countries. The EU had previously proposed listing several Chinese companies, but those proposals were dropped following resistance from some member states and after Beijing provided assurances.
The issue is of crucial importance for the EU, which counts Beijing as one of its most important trading partners, and in particular for Germany, for which China is the largest market for car manufacturers, including Volkswagen AG.
EU sanctions require the support of all member states to pass and could change before then.
A commission spokesperson declined to comment on the proposal. A message left at the Chinese embassy in Brussels was not immediately returned.
The companies, mainly technology and electronics, are accused of “contributing to the military and technological development of Russia or the development of the Russian defense and security sector,” according to the document.
The proposals include three Chinese companies and one each from India, Sri Lanka, Serbia, Kazakhstan, Thailand, Turkey and Hong Kong. Their inclusion in the proposed list “does not imply any attribution of responsibility for their actions to the jurisdiction in which they operate,” the document said. The EU has so far listed more than 620 companies, almost all of which are Russian.
As part of a sanctions package marking two years since Russia’s invasion of Moscow, the EU also proposed sanctions against more than 110 individuals and entities.