The US has blacklisted 28 Chinese companies from purchasing any American products for being implicated in human rights violations and other abuses in China's Xinjiang region.
The US Department of Commerce said the action constricts the export of items subject to the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) to entities that have been implicated in human rights violations and abuses in China's campaign targeting Uighurs and other predominantly Muslim ethnic minorities in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region.
"The US Government and Department of Commerce cannot and will not tolerate the brutal suppression of ethnic minorities within China,” Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross said.
"This action will ensure that our technologies fostered in an environment of individual liberty and free enterprise are not used to repress defenseless minority populations,” he said.
Located in Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region and throughout China, these entities have all been implicated in the implementation of China's campaign of repression, mass arbitrary detention, and high-technology surveillance, the Department of Commerce said.
The entity list identifies persons or organisations reasonably believed to be involved, or to pose a significant risk of being or becoming involved, in activities contrary to the national security or foreign policy interests of the US.
The EAR imposes additional license requirements on, and limits the availability of most license exceptions for, exports, re-exports, and transfers (in-country) to listed entities.
The blacklisting of Chinese entities comes as the US and China will hold the next round of trade negotiations on October 10, as the two major trading powers are trying to end their bruising trade war.
The American side would be led by US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Secretary of Treasury Steven Mnuchin. The Chinese delegation will be led by Vice Premier Liu He.
China and the US have been negotiating a trade deal for more than 10 months now.
President Donald Trump wants to reach an agreement with the Chinese that reduces the massive trade imbalance between the two countries, which last year climbed to over USD 539 billion.
He also wants China to address the issue of theft of intellectual properties of US companies and their forced coercion inside China.
The Trump administration had first imposed tariffs on Chinese imports last year in a bid to win concessions from China, which responded with tit-for-tat tariffs. The escalating dispute between the world's two largest economies has depressed stock prices and poses a threat to the global economy.
Both sides have made conciliatory gestures ahead of the next round of talks, but a deal remains elusive.
The US postponed a further tariff hike on Chinese goods, and China lifted punitive duties on soybeans. The move helps both American farmers and Chinese pig breeders, who use soy as feed and are struggling with a devastating outbreak of African swine fever.