China’s foreign ministry said on Tuesday that it would take firm measures in response to any possible measures by the United States which would escalate the ongoing trade war between the two countries. The Chinese statement followed threats from the US president Donald Trump that he would not be averse from imposing new tariffs on China id his meeting with Chinese president Xi Jinping at the G20 summit later this month failed to yield a trade agreement.
While Trump has a number of times talked about his potential meeting with the Chinese President Xi Jinping at the Osaka summit at the end of June and the possibility of a trade pact between the two largest economies of the world, China has not confirmed any such meeting.
Last week Trump had said that the decision of whether or not to impose import tariffs on at least $300 billion of Chinese goods imported into the US would be taken by him after his meeting with Xi in Japan.
Analysts say that the latest threat of a fresh round of tariff on Chinese goods imported into the US if no progress was made in the trade talks with Xi in Osaka came because no confirmation of any such meeting was given by China officially.
No comments about any possible meeting between Trump and Xi at the G20 summit was made by Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang again and said that the ministry would release such information once it receives any.
“China does not want to fight a trade war, but we are not afraid of fighting a trade war,” he said, adding China’s door was open to talks based on equality.
“If the United States only wants to escalate trade frictions, we will resolutely respond and fight to the end.”
The ongoing trade war between China and the US went up a notch in May after China was accused by the Trump administration of going back on promised steps for economic changes that it had made during the earlier trade negotiations that had gone on for months.
The US has demanded wide ranging changes in the Chinese economic practices and policies which include China bringing an end to forced transfer of technology from American companies to local Chinese firms and the alleged stealing of American trade secrets. The US also demanded stalling the practice of subsidizing Chinese state-owned companies and a greater access to the Chinese markets for American companies.
As a consequence, import tariffs on Chinese products imported into the US worth about $200 was increased by the Trump administration from 10 per cent to 25 per cent on May 10, in addition to announcing certain measures to levy duties on an additional $300 billion of Chinese imports. Those fresh tariffs were retaliated by China by increase of tariffs on US products imported into the country worth $60 billion.
The relations between the two countries were further weakened after the US Commerce Department blacklisted the Chinese tech company Huawei which effectively banned all American companies from doing any business with the Chinese firm in terms of products as well as technology. In retaliation China threatened that it would come up with its own blacklist for US companies and possibly curb export of rare earth materials from the country in the US which is used in the production of a wide range of technical products from memory chips to rechargeable batteries to cell phones.
There is now a worry among investors and markets that any fresh tariff by the Trump administration would be met with retaliatory measures by Beijing.
(Adapted from Reuters.com)