BEIJING China has vowed to fight to the end if the US decides to intensify its trade war amid a renewed threat by the President Donald Trump to impose additional tariffs on Chinese exports.
“If the United States willfully decides to escalate tensions, we’ll fight to the end,” said the Commerce Ministrys spokesman Gao Feng during a press briefing on Thursday.
Gao said the US use of ultimate pressure has led to serious setbacks in bilateral trade talks and that the future direction of the negotiations would rest on Washington.
“China does not want to fight a trade war, but also is not afraid of one, Gao said, stressing that Beijing will “adopt necessary countermeasures and resolutely safeguard the interests of China and its people.”
The remarks came after Trump declared on Thursday that he would decide on carrying out his threat to levy tariffs on at least $300 billion of goods from China after a meeting of the worlds largest economies later this month.
“I will make that decision in the next two weeks after the G20. I will be meeting with President Xi and well see what happens, were probably planning it sometime after G20,” Trump said while on a visit to France.
The upcoming G20 summit in Japan on June 28-29 will be the first opportunity for Trump and his Chinese counterpart President Xi Jinping to meet since the last G20 summit in Buenos Aires in late 2018. However, a meeting between the two is yet to be arranged.
“Our talks with China, a lot of interesting things are happening. We’ll see what happens… I could go up another at least $300 billion and I’ll do that at the right time,” said the US president.
Trump increased tariffs to 25 percent on $200 billion of Chinese products and ordered his trade representative to prepare tariffs on another $300 billion, covering nearly all Chinese exports to the US.
Chinas Commerce Ministry released a report on Thursday on how the US has benefited from years of economic and trade cooperation with Beijing, saying Washingtons claims that China has taken advantage of their bilateral trade are groundless.
Last week, the ministry said it might target American companies in the trade war, adding it is drafting a list of “unreliable entities” that have harmed Chinese firms’ interests.
The US-China trade dispute poses a threat to the global economy, the International Monetary Fund warned on Thursday, censuring the Trump administration’s wider efforts to overhaul global trade relationships by raising tariffs.
US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is set to hold talks with People’s Bank of China Governor Yi Gang on Saturday at a meeting of G20 finance leaders in Japan, the first face-to-face discussion between key negotiators in almost a month.
Relations between Beijing and Washington have nosedived since Trump accused China of reneging on what he claims as Chinese pledges to change its ways of doing business with the rest of the world.
The two sides have taken action against each other’s companies and exchanged harsh words on the diplomatic front, triggering an escalation that has upset global markets and wiped out over $1.5 trillion worth of investments worldwide.
They have been at odds since July 2018 over a variety of demands by Washington for Beijing to adopt policy changes that would allegedly better protect American intellectual property and make China’s market more accessible to US businesses.