The European Commission has proposed blacklisting several Chinese companies and curbing exports to nations seen as involved in bypassing Russian trade restrictions under the latest set of sanctions against Moscow for its invasion of Ukraine.
The 27 member countries – which must all agree for new sanctions to be enacted – will have a first discussion on Wednesday on the proposal by the European Commission’s foreign policy unit, several diplomatic sources said on Monday.
The European Commission has presented the EU member states the proposals regarding the 11th package of sanctions against Russia.
Good news it is. The Russian propagandists and the terror state money-makers should get ready for surprises.
— Andriy Yermak (@AndriyYermak) May 8, 2023
The proposal focuses on combating circumvention of existing trade restrictions through third countries, the sources said, after the EU identified China, Turkey, UAE, as well as countries in Central Asia and the Caucasus as potential culprits.
EU to get hard on China?
Seven companies in China would be subject to an asset freeze in the EU, said diplomats familiar with the proposal. This would be the bloc’s possibly first time punishing China over accusations of Beijing’s role in aiding Russia’s war in Ukraine.
For the first time, the #EU may punish #China for helping #Russia
The European Commission has included in the sanctions list seven companies from China that supply equipment to Russia that can be used, including for military purposes, according to the Financial Times. pic.twitter.com/SV0tg7Bb5d
— NEXTA (@nexta_tv) May 8, 2023
On Monday, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said China was urging the EU not to take the “wrong path”, and that it was prepared to take action to safeguard its rights and interests.
Who would get sanctioned?
Earlier on Monday, the Financial Times reported that the companies involved in circumventing sanctions are 3HC Semiconductors and King-Pai Technology based in mainland China, as well as Sinno Electronics, Sigma Technology, Asia Pacific Links, Tordan Industry, and Alpha Trading Investments in Hong Kong.
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Among those added to the blacklist would also be individuals deemed involved in deporting Ukrainian children and moving cultural goods to Russia from the war zone in Ukraine, the sources said.
In what would be the EU’s 11th package of sanctions against Russia since it invaded Ukraine in February 2022, the bloc would also introduce a new mechanism to cut its exports to third countries deemed involved in bypassing sanctions against Russia.
Waiting for approval
Some of the sources suggested discussions between member countries could be long and fraught as the proposal risked upsetting economic and political ties, including with major powers.
“I would not expect a decision on Wednesday or next week either. Member states will have many ideas on whether this is a good avenue to follow or not, how it would actually affect them,” a diplomatic source told Reuters.
A spokesman for the European Commission on Monday confirmed the proposal was sent out to member states and aimed at closing loopholes in Russia trade restrictions but declined to give detail.