China Says Trump Has Started A Trade War, Warns It Will Fight Back

REUTERS/Thomas Peter

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Ryan Pickrell China/Asia Pacific Reporter
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Beijing has accused the U.S. of starting a trade war and is warning that it will defend its interests.

“The United States has initiated a trade war,” the Chinese Ministry of Commerce said Tuesday morning after President Donald Trump threatened China with tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars worth of Chinese products Monday night.

“I directed the United States Trade Representative to identify $200 billion worth of Chinese goods for additional tariffs at a rate of 10 percent,” the president said in a statement Monday evening. (RELATED: Trump Threatens To Hit China With Tariffs On $200 Billion Worth Of Goods)

The new tariffs would be in addition to the “25 percent tariffs on $50 billion of goods from China that contain industrially significant technologies” the White House announced last Friday. The trade duties are intended as a penalty for Chinese theft of American intellectual property. (RELATED: Trump Escalates Trade War With Tough Tariffs On $50 Billion In Chinese Goods)

While Beijing has agreed to increase imports from the U.S. during trade talks with American trade officials, China has not yet taken concrete steps to address the key concerns voiced by the Trump administration — namely China’s unfair trade practices. Rather than change course, Beijing responded to the Trump administration’s trade penalties with reciprocal tariffs on hundreds of American products worth around $50 billion.

“These tariffs,” the White House said of the threat of duties on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods, “will go into effect if China refuses to change its practices, and also if it insists on going forward with the new tariffs that it has recently announced.”

“This practice of extreme pressure and blackmail deviates from the consensus reached by both parties on many occasions and is disappointing for the international community,” the Chinese Ministry of Commerce argued, with the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs stating that China “does not fear a trade war.”

“If someone initiates a trade war, we will firmly defend our legitimate rights and interests,” the foreign ministry stressed.

Global stock markets reportedly fell sharply Tuesday morning as the trade spat between Beijing and Washington escalates further.

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