(AFP) – China warned Sunday that it was ready to hit back if the United States damaged its economic interests, fuelling fears of a trade war after President Donald Trump unveiled tariffs on steel and aluminium.
Trump’s announcement on Thursday sparked a flurry of counter-threats from other nations. But Washington’s main trade rival had avoided any overt warnings of potential retaliation until now.
“China doesn’t want a trade war with the United States,” Zhang Yesui, spokesman for the National People’s Congress, told a news conference on Sunday, the eve of the rubber-stamp parliament’s annual session.
“But if the US takes actions that hurt Chinese interests, China will not sit idly by,” Zhang said. An official English-language interpreter added the phrase, “and will take necessary measures”.
Zhang warned that “policies informed by misjudgement or wrong perceptions will hurt relations and bring consequences no side wants to see”.
Trump’s announcement came as President Xi Jinping’s top economic aide, Liu He, met US officials at the White House to discuss the fraught economic relationship.
During his visit, according to the official Xinhua news agency, Liu and his hosts “agreed that the two countries should settle their trade disputes by cooperation rather than confrontation”.
Since announcing plans to impose a 25 percent tariff on steel imports and 10 percent on aluminium, Trump has shrugged off threats from other nations, boasting on Friday that “trade wars are good, and easy to win”.
Source: News Now | AFP