New Straits Times
CHINA TO ‘HIT BACK’ IF US HARMS INTERESTS
China doesn’t want trade war with US but will take necessary actions to protect its interests, says NPC spokesman
BEIJING warned yesterday it is ready to hit back at the United States if it harms China’s economic interests, fuelling fears of a trade war after President Donald Trump unveiled steel and aluminium tariffs.
Trump’s announcement on Thursday sparked a flurry of counter-threats from other nations but its main trade rival, China, had avoided any overt warnings of potential retaliation until now.
“China doesn’t want a trade war with the US,” said Zhang Yesui, spokesman for the National People’s Congress (NPC),yesterday, the eve of the rubberstamp Parliament’s annual session.
“But if the US takes actions that hurt Chinese interests, China will not sit idly but 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 with US officials at the White House last week 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 per cent tariff on steel imports and 10 per cent on aluminium, Trump has shrugged off threats from other nations, boasting on Friday that “trade wars are good, and easy to win”.
China has been the main target of Trump’s ire over the US trade deficit since his presidential campaign, but its steel and aluminium exports to the US are minimal.
While China is the world’s largest steel producer, but it accounts for less than one per cent of US imports and sells only 10 per cent of its wrought aluminium abroad.
Steel producers in Canada, Brazil, Mexico, South Korea and Turkey rely far more heavily on the US market.