China says "fully prepared" if trade war kicks off this week

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In response, China asked the EU, which is the world's largest trading bloc, for an alliance against the United States while promising to open up more of China's economy to European competitors. "We do not want to fight it, but in order to safeguard the interests of the country and the people, we have no choice but to fight", said Gao Feng, spokesman for China's commerce ministry.

Brussels officials are looking to negotiate a new deal with the US President, who is a fierce critic of the EU's trade policy. President Donald Trump has threatened to increase the scope to $450 billion if China indeed retaliates against his 25% tariff. Friction has also grown over the South China Sea and Taiwan.

China's stance shows the depth of concern about a trade war with Washington, as Trump is set to impose tariffs on billions of dollars of Chinese imports on Friday.

-China trade deficit that has soared in recent years.

"We put a halt on all investment, not just because we will be losing money, but because we don't know if growing in the U.S. is the right move if we won't be an exporting country", Ken Maschhoff, co-owner of the country's largest family-owned pork producer, told CNBC.

Economists have for months warned of the potential damage to the USA and global economies from aggressive trade policies and protectionism, which would raise prices and upend global supply chains.

But he added that at a high level China-EU economic dialogue in Beijing last week both sides had agreed to oppose unilateralism and trade and investment protectionism.

"We agree with nearly all the complaints the USA has against China, it's just we don't agree with how the United States is handling it", another diplomat said.

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Therefore, to many, the trade war the U.S. sees intent on initiating is the country's strategy to keep China on the back foot so that it will not develop as fast as it otherwise would, and thus unable to challenge the dominant role of the United States in the global economic order.

It also underscores China's new boldness in trying to seize leadership amid divisions between the United States and its European, Canadian and Japanese allies over issues including free trade, climate change and foreign policy.

One study said as many as 400,000 jobs could be lost. "Security personnel have detained and/or deported USA citizens for sending private electronic messages critical of the Chinese government".

China has promised to open up.

The tariffs target a broad spectrum of Chinese goods - such as passenger vehicles, radio transmitters, aircraft parts and computer hard drives - from industries Washington said have benefited from unfair trade practices. A US agency under the Department of Commerce recommended Monday against giving operating licenses to China's largest telecom carrier, citing national security risks posed by the state-run firm.

The report said how, in 2016, after a Chinese student was shot and killed in Arizona, the Chinese Embassy in Washington told travelers to avoid "crime scenes and tough neighborhoods".

The European Union is seeking to pass legislation to allow greater scrutiny of foreign investments. "Simply put, the USA is opening fire on the whole world, and also firing at itself", Gao said.

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