China hits back after Trump threatens $100 billion in tariffs
AFPUpdated April 06, 2018
China said on Friday it is ready to pay "any cost" in a trade war after US President Donald Trump threatened an additional $100 billion in tit-for-tat tariffs on Beijing.
"If the US side disregards opposition from China and the international community and insists on carrying out unilateralism and trade protectionism, the Chinese side will take them on until the end at any cost," the commerce ministry said in a statement on its website.
"We don't want a trade war but we aren't afraid of fighting one."
The US on Tuesday published a list of $50 billion in Chinese exports set to be hit by US tariffs because of Beijing's alleged theft of intellectual property and technology.
China retaliated on Wednesday by announcing plans to impose levies on $50 billion worth of major US exports such as soybeans, cars and small aircraft.
On Thursday, Trump responded to Beijing's countermeasures by doubling down.
"Rather than remedy its misconduct, China has chosen to harm our farmers and manufacturers," Trump said in a defiant statement.
"In light of China's unfair retaliation," Trump said he had instructed trade officials to "consider whether $100 billion of additional tariffs would be appropriate".
Trump said he was still open to talks, but only if they were aimed at achieving "free, fair, and reciprocal trade".
China on Thursday formally launched a World Trade Organization challenge against Trump's first round of proposed tariffs.
In the text released by the WTO, China's delegation requested "consultations" with Washington "concerning the proposed tariffs (and) measures that the United States accords to certain goods in various sectors including machinery, electronics, etc. originating in China".
A "request for consultations" is the first step in a full-blown legal challenge at the WTO's Dispute Settlement Body.
Beijing has also unveiled plans for painful import duties targeting politically-sensitive US exports, including soybeans, aircraft and autos.
'Dumbest possible way'
None of the tariffs have yet come into effect, but the world's two largest economies are in a game of chicken that could inflict collateral damage on the global economy.
The prospect of a trade war has sent markets around the world on a rollercoaster ride, with traders seemingly unable to decide if the threat is real or bluster.
As news spread of Trump's latest threat, stock futures trading pointed to the Dow Jones Industrial Average opening over 400 points down.
This dispute — ostensibly over Beijing's alleged theft of intellectual property and technology — is just one front in the ongoing trade tussle.