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China said to mull scrutiny of US firms if Trump starts feud

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China is prepared to step up its scrutiny of US companies in the event President-elect Donald Trump takes punitive measures against Chinese goods and triggers a trade war between the world's two biggest economies after he takes office, according to people familiar with the matter.

[BEIJING] China is prepared to step up its scrutiny of US companies in the event President-elect Donald Trump takes punitive measures against Chinese goods and triggers a trade war between the world's two biggest economies after he takes office, according to people familiar with the matter.

The options include subjecting well-known US companies or ones that have large Chinese operations to tax or antitrust probes, the people said, asking not to be identified because the matter isn't public. Other possible measures include the launch of anti-dumping investigations and scaling back government purchases of American products, according to the people.

The move illustrates how the fallout from escalating tensions between the two nations could spread to companies. Mr Trump has made China a frequent target of his attacks and nominated trade-related officials that the Communist Party's Global Times newspaper said would form an "iron curtain" of protectionism.

While specific details of China's options weren't immediately clear, the retaliatory measures could affect companies related to agriculture, pharmaceuticals, technology and consumer industries, according to the people.

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China's central government compiled the possible countermeasures after collecting opinions from various departments, the people said. The punitive steps would only be carried out if the US acts first and after senior Chinese leaders sign off on them, they said.

Representatives at China's Ministry of Commerce, National Development and Reform Commission, State Administration of Taxation and General Administration of Customs either didn't respond or couldn't immediately comment to Bloomberg queries.

Representatives at Mr Trump's transition team didn't respond to a request for comment.

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