Biden’s Commerce secretary pick pledges a tough line on China but doesn’t detail how it will deal with Huawei

Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo also pledged to help the American economy recover from the pandemic, to expand broadband access to regions with patchy Internet connections and to promote manufacturing and clean-energy jobs.

On China, she said the United States needs to develop a “whole of government response,” in coordination with U.S. allies, to combat unfair trade practices, which U.S. officials say include China’s theft of intellectual property, its hefty state subsidy of industry and its efforts to block Western access to the Chinese market.

One of the Trump administration’s favorite tools for punishing China was the Entity List, a compilation of companies deemed threats to national security to which U.S. exports are blocked. The Commerce Department oversees the list, which in recent years grew to include more than 300 Chinese entities, including the telecom equipment manufacturer Huawei, large semiconductor and drone manufacturers, and companies engaged in alleged human rights violations against ethnic minorities in China’s Xinjiang region.

Asked by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) whether companies accused of human rights abuses would remain on the list, Raimondo said: “China’s actions have been anticompetitive, hurtful to American workers and businesses, coercive and, as you point out, they are culpable for atrocious human rights abuses.”

“Whether it’s the Entity List or tariffs or countervailing duties, I intend to use all those tools to the fullest extent possible to level the playing field for the American worker. I believe in free trade but fair trade,” she added.

Asked whether Huawei would remain on the list, Raimondo said she would “review the policy, consult with you, consult with industry, consult with our allies and make an assessment about what’s best for American national security and economic security.”

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