Lockheed Martin, Raytheon barred from China after arms sales to Taiwan

BEIJING, China: Lockheed Martin and a unit of Raytheon Technologies have been sanctioned by Beijing over arms sales to Taiwan, placing them on an "unreliable entities list" that bans them from imports and exports in China.

The measures come a day after the Chinese government warned of "countermeasures against relevant US entities that undermine China’s sovereignty and security," and amid heightened tensions after the US military shot down a suspected Chinese spy balloon.

In a statement, China’s commerce ministry said that under the sanctions, Lockheed Martin and Raytheon are prohibited from "engaging in import and export activities related to China."

In response, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters this week, "These are symbolic measures and unnecessary — that’s how we view them."

Neither company sells defense products to China.

Meanwhile, Raytheon declined to comment on the Chinese sanctions, while Lockheed, which sells products to more than 70 countries, stated, "Foreign Military Sales are government-to-government transactions and we work closely with the US government on any military sales to international customers. Lockheed Martin closely adheres to US government policy with regard to conducting business with foreign governments," as quoted by China.

The two companies have also been banned from further investing in China, while their senior management can no longer enter the country.

Beijing also canceled residence permits for Lockheed Martin and Raytheon staff in China, and imposed fines that are double the contracted amounts of their arms sales to Taiwan.

In February, China sanctioned the two companies over a $100 million arms sale to Taiwan, the self-ruled island claimed by Beijing as its own territory.