Editorial : US investment ban will come home to roost

【明報專訊】US President Donald Trump's executive order that bars Americans from investing in so-called "companies with ties to the Chinese military" went into effect gradually yesterday (January 11), and the three biggest Chinese telecommunications companies were delisted by the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). In Hong Kong, some warrants and other derivative products issued by US securities firms were also taken down from shelves prematurely. As Trump seeks revenge for his failure to win re-election, Washington hawks hostile to China think that pushing forth US-China decoupling will be an "effective way" to bash China. They have no hesitation at even employing "scorched-earth" tactics that harm both others and themselves. Those most immediately hit by the White House's investment ban are not Chinese companies but US investors who hold their stocks. The NYSE's flip-flopping regarding the delisting shows that Wall Street is reluctant to follow that if it can choose not to. With Trump's term still having a week or so to go, one cannot rule out the possibility that hawks in the US's right wing may have even more desperate manoeuvres against China. Although president-elect Joe Biden is relatively pragmatic, he still has to face the confines of anti-Chinese public opinion. It will be wishful thinking to believe that the new administration will undo all the reckless moves done during the Trump era.