(Bloomberg) — China issued a travel advisory on the U.S. through the end of the year, amid spiraling trade tensions between the two countries.
The country’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism cited recent “frequent” shootings, robbery and theft in America as the reason for its alert, according to the official Xinhua News Agency on Tuesday.
The travel warning was spurred by difficulties Chinese nationals are encountering while in the U.S., Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told reporters in Beijing. Asked if the move was part of the protracted trade dispute, Geng said it was a response to “current circumstances.”
The advisory came a day after China warned its students studying in the U.S. to be vigilant as the Trump administration steps up restrictions on academic visas and intensifies its scrutiny of Chinese researchers working in America.
‘Take More Precautions’
“Recently, U.S. law enforcement agencies have repeatedly harassed Chinese citizens visiting the United States through exit and entry inspections, door-to-door interviews and other means,” state-run China Central Television reported Tuesday, citing the Foreign Ministry.
China has also frequently used bans on tourism as an economic weapon. It targeted South Korea in 2017, banning package trips to its neighbor in a show of dissatisfaction over its deploying of a U.S.-backed missile system. The ban shaved 0.4 percentage points off Korea’s economic growth that year.
The move will likely deepen the pressure already being felt by consumer and retail companies in the U.S. who’ve been traditionally reliant on big-spending Chinese tourists to prop up sales.
PVH Corp., the parent company of Tommy Hilfiger and Calvin Klein, plunged the most in a decade last week after trimming its revenue outlook. It blamed the escalating tariffs battle for causing anxiety for both American and Chinese shoppers.
American jeweler Tiffany & Co. said late last year that lower spending by tourists, particularly from China, to its flagship store in New York was a factor for its results missing analysts’ estimates.
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