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China Threatens ‘Ample Means For Retaliation’ Against US Tariffs, But Says It Would Rather Discuss An Agreement

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China threatened “ample means for retaliation” against U.S. tariffs, but said it would rather discuss a deal in a Thursday statement.

Chinese Ministry of Commerce spokesman Gao Feng spoke for the country to reporters Thursday when he suggested discussion move toward removing tariffs rather than increasing them, according to Bloomberg.

“China has ample means for retaliation, but thinks the question that should be discussed now is about removing the new tariffs to prevent escalation of the trade war,” Gao said. “China is lodging solemn representations with the U.S. on the matter.”

“Escalation of the trade war won’t benefit China, nor the U.S., nor the world,” he continued. “The most important thing is to create the necessary conditions for continuing negotiations. … The U.S. must call off its plan to impose [additional] tariffs on $550 billion worth of Chinese products to avoid a further escalation in the trade dispute.”

Gao did not specify whether his comments meant China would not retaliate against the latest increase in U.S. tariffs against Chinese goods, but he did add that both countries are discussing sending Chinese negotiators to Washington in September for continued trade talks.

“There are all kinds of rumors flying around right now. We will clarify the facts regarding trade and let the public know the truth,” the ministry of commerce concluded.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told Bloomberg on Wednesday that discussions for a visit are in effect but did not confirm any official plans.

The U.S. announced on Aug. 23 that it is going to increase tariffs to as much as 30% on $250 billion of Chinese goods starting Oct. 1 on top of an additional 15% tariff on $300 billion of Chinese goods set to go into effect on Sept. 1.

The increase came in retaliation against China’s announcement on the same day that it was placing a 25% tariff on all U.S. automobiles and a 5% to 10% tariff on $75 billion of U.S. goods.

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