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Michael Schuman

The Wrong Way to Pressure China

Too many mergers are being upheld without a clear rationale.
Clarity needed.

Clarity needed.

Photographer: STR/AFP/Getty

Is the U.S. finally taking a tougher stand on China? Last week, AT&T Inc. walked away from a partnership with Huawei Technologies Co., possibly due to Washington’s worries about espionage. A week earlier, Ant Financial dropped its long-delayed acquisition of MoneyGram International Inc. after failing to win approval from a crucial U.S. government committee.

Such a stand was probably inevitable, whoever occupied the White House. By showing almost no willingness to open its markets more widely or to scale back its efforts to promote local firms, China has all but invited its trading partners to retaliate.