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If US Wants Trade War, We Are Ready

04 April 2018

Mr Li said the trade imbalance could be solved if the U.S. eased restrictions on high technology exports to China. This could be accomplished by reducing Chinese exports to the US, by raising the number of USA goods China imports, or a combination of both.

At the root of the current spat are complaints by United States companies that China pressures foreign companies to hand over technology in return for market access, that intellectual property (IP) theft is rampant and Beijing does not allow equal playing fields for foreign firms.

There are fears a trade war between the USA and China will unravel the global trading system and impact on economic growth trade-reliant countries such as Australia.

It immediately slapped counter-tariffs on 120 USA products that had enjoyed considerable market status in China.

Early on Wednesday in Beijing, China's Commerce Ministry said it "strongly condemns and firmly opposes" the proposed U.S. tariffs and warned of retaliatory action.

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Zhu warned against expecting Beijing to give in. The talks also should demonstrate mutual consultation instead of asking "one side to do in a certain thing", he said adding that United States should heed to the call of its business community and people and abandon protectionist measures.

Beijing has vowed to retaliate after the United States published a list of about 1,300 Chinese products it plans to hit with a 25% tariffs.

Also on the list were American beef, whisky, passenger vehicles and industrial chemicals.

Forecasters say the immediate impact should be limited, but investors worry the global recovery might be set back if it prompts other governments to raise import barriers.

A bitter stalemate in North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) renegotiations has already hit farmers hard, as Mexico has shifted its efforts towards Brazil and other areas.

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In a morning tweet, President Donald on Wednesday pointed to "a Trade Deficit of $500 Billion" a year with China, adding that intellectual property theft by Chinese companies costs the U.S. That excludes much heavier Boeing jetliners, leaving Beijing additional high-profile targets for possible future rounds of the conflict. A full-fledged trade war could slow global commerce. "If someone is bent on waging it and even closing in on our doorstep, then we will keep them company and let's see who last to the end", he said.

The Shanghai Composite slipped 0.2 percent while Hong Kong's Hang Seng slumped 2.2 percent, with the decline accelerating in the final minutes of trading after Beijing announced specifics of its tariff hikes.

Foreign companies are increasingly alarmed by initiatives such as Beijing's long-range industry development plan, dubbed "Made in China 2025". Foreign companies complain that will limit or outright block their access to those industries. Excluding services, where the US enjoys a surplus, the trade deficit was $375 billion. Washington reports different figures that put the gap at a record $375.2 billion.

"This is a legitimate action that conforms to the basic principles of worldwide law", it added.

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