President Donald Trump signed an order Thursday banning US investments in Chinese firms that are owned or controlled by China’s military.

In a statement, National Security Advisor Robert O'Brien said Trump "signed an Executive Order to protect American investors from funding Communist Chinese military companies, including those designated by the Department of Defense in June and August of 2020."

Trump said in the order that “the People’s Republic of China (PRC) is increasingly exploiting United States capital to resource and enable the development and modernization of its military, intelligence and other security apparatuses.”

O’Brien said that "many of these companies are publicly traded on stock exchanges around the world, and individual investors in the United States can unknowingly provide funds to them through passive institutional investment vehicles such as mutual funds and retirement plans.”

The order will go into effect on Jan. 11.

"The President’s action serves to protect American investors from unintentionally providing capital that goes to enhancing the capabilities of the People’s Liberation Army and People’s Republic of China intelligence services, which routinely target American citizens and businesses through cyber operations and directly threaten the critical infrastructure, economy and military of America and its allies and partners around the world," said the top White House official.

Tensions between the world’s two largest economies have escalated over China’s recently passed national security law for Hong Kong, Beijing’s alleged human rights violations and political attacks over the origin of the novel coronavirus.