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China blames US protectionist sentiment for failed deal

BEIJING: China said yesterday that protectionist sentiment is rising in the US and criticised Washington for blocking a Chinese takeover of a US financial company on security grounds.

Ant Financial's planned US$1.2 billion (S$1.6 billion) purchase of money transfer firm MoneyGram International collapsed last week after a US government panel rejected the deal over national security concerns.

It was the most high-profile Chinese deal to be torpedoed since Mr Donald Trump was elected US president a year ago on promises to put America first.

"We have noticed recently that protectionist voices have been rising in the US," China's Ministry of Commerce spokesman Gao Feng said in a briefing.

China was particularly worried about countries using national security concerns as a way to block foreign investment, he added.

Ant Financial is owned by Chinese internet conglomerate Alibaba Group.

In another blow to the global ambitions of Chinese companies, Huawei Technologies' planned deal with US carrier AT&T to sell its smartphones in the US also fell apart because of security concerns, sources said on Wednesday.

The failed deals come as the US considers new tariff moves in the coming weeks, including broad restrictions on steel and aluminium imports. - REUTERS

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