China says it won’t fire ‘first shot’ in trade standoff with US

US President Donald Trump

China said that it wouldn't implement tariffs ahead of the USA on Friday, after previous arrangements put it on course to do so.

Asked whether US companies will be targeted with "qualitative measures" in China in a trade war, Gao said the government will protect the legal rights of all foreign companies in the country.

Transit trade, which refers to goods shipped from other countries to the U.S. via China, which is calculated by the USA as imports from China, also accounts for the trade deficit figures the Trump administration cites, something it refuses to acknowledge.

China's foreign ministry said Tuesday that Beijing won't hesitate to retaliate against US tariffs and escalate a trade war with Washington if tensions over economic negotiations with the Trump administration continue to rise.

Donald Trump is due to slap as much as $34billion (£25 billion) of Chinese exports with 25 percent tariffs.

As traditional alliances fray, Liu He has said privately that his country is ready to set out for the first time what sectors it can open to European investment at the annual summit, expected to be attended by President Xi Jinping, China's Premier Li Keqiang and top EU officials.

As the world's most powerful economy, the United States plays a vital role in global economic and trade rule-setting and it is always able to find seemingly plausible reasons for its initiative targeting China. "They firmly believe that free trade is a powerful engine for global economic growth".

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"This kind of reminder from the Chinese embassy in the relevant country, I think this is absolutely a matter that is in the scope of our duty", ministry spokesman Lu Kang told a regular news briefing.

While Trump touts announcements of jobs created in steel plants due to the tariffs, manufacturing industries warn that many more jobs will be lost in companies producing autos, auto parts, appliances and other goods that depend on imported components.

China has issued a safety warning to its citizens travelling to the United States amid rising tensions between the sides over accusations of unfair trading practices and other disputes. "It was never comfortable with the West being one bloc", said a European official involved in EU-China diplomacy.

Unsurprisingly, the administration has cited national security concerns to back its decision - the same concerns the administration cites when denying the acquisition of USA technology-related companies by Chinese enterprises.

The EU now imposes tariffs of 10 percent on imports of US-built cars, compared to Washington's 2.5 percent levy on European auto imports.

"The fundamentals of the Chinese economy at present are good", he said. "Simply put, the United States is opening fire on the whole world, and also firing at itself", Gao said.

"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. "It's unlikely to mark a systemic change".

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