Trump administration officials are proposing a retaliatory pact for countries facing economic pressure from China and broader import controls on Chinese companies.
“China is trying to beat counties into submission by egregious economic coercion,” a senior Trump official told the Wall Street Journal. “The West needs to create a system of absorbing collectively the economic punishment from China’s coercive diplomacy and offset the cost.”
Signatories would abide by a purchasing agreement or provide compensation when China halts imports from a given country. The group could assess retaliatory tariffs on Beijing.
Trump officials are also eyeing new restrictions on imports made with forced labor from the country’s western province of Xinjiang and new additions to a Department of Commerce blacklist.
Officials said the plan was stoked by pressures Beijing exerted on Australia after leaders called for an investigation into the coronavirus pandemic’s origins.
White House and National Security Council officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Efforts to cement President Trump’s hard-line posture on China before President-elect Joe Biden takes office are elsewhere underway.
Trump this month signed an order barring American businesses and individuals from investing directly or indirectly in a list of 31 companies that the White House said has ties to China’s military.
Further measures under consideration include protections for U.S. technology from military exploitation and sanctions against high-ranking Chinese officials for committing abuses against Xinjiang’s Uighurs, a senior administration official last week told the Washington Examiner.