China says it's ready for trade war as Trump tariffs loom

Beijing issues warning as Washington plans to issue intellectual property report

BEIJING: China warned the US yesterday that everyone will be harmed if President Donald Trump launches a trade war, as figures showed the Asian power maintained a robust trade surplus with the US.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi issued the stern message as the Trump administration geared up to formally introduce steel and aluminium tariffs as early as yesterday despite global concerns.

"Choosing a trade war is surely the wrong prescription, in the end, you will only hurt others and yourself," said Mr Wang.

"China will certainly make an appropriate and necessary response," he said at a press conference on the sidelines of the Communist Party's annual parliamentary session.

On Wednesday, at the World Trade Organisation, China led a group of 18 members urging Mr Trump to scrap the planned tariffs, with its representative saying the levies would pose a systemic threat to the rules-based global trading system.

US imports of steel and aluminium from China make up a small proportion of its total imports from the world's second largest economy.

But the tariffs may be the first foray in the brewing American trade war with Beijing.

In the coming weeks, the Trump administration plans to issue a report on China's intellectual property practices that is expected to hammer China and possibly bring about further tariffs on a wider range of Chinese imports.


"The US is acting swiftly on Intellectual Property theft. We cannot allow this to happen as it has for many years!" Mr Trump tweeted hours before Mr Wang took the stage in Beijing.

Mr Trump also took to Twitter to say the US had asked China to "develop a plan for the year of a One Billion Dollar reduction in their massive Trade Deficit with the United States".

"We look forward to seeing what ideas they come back with. We must act soon!" Mr Trump said. His tweets follow China's moves to resolve the simmering trade tensions.

While Beijing has launched warning shots - like trade investigations into US goods, such as sorghum, and hinted it could even take on soybeans, its largest US import - officials have worked to find a peaceful resolution. - AFP