China indicates readiness to take on US in trade war
China has advised the United States against launching a trade war, indicating, however, that it will be ready if such a war is waged.
US President Donald Trump has proposed a controversial plan to impose hefty tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, including from China. Trump believes the tariffs will safeguard US jobs even as economists say the measures will destroy more jobs than they create and will hurt the very US companies and workers that Trump has said he aims to protect.
The decision has also drawn complaints and counter-threats from the European Commission, Canada, Mexico, and Australia.
‘Appropriate and necessary response’
During a press conference in Beijing on Thursday, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi stressed that trade wars would harm all sides.
“Choosing a trade war is surely the wrong prescription; in the end, you will only hurt others and yourself,” Wang said, stressing, however, “China will certainly make an appropriate and necessary response.”
The Chinese foreign minister also said that China and the US did not have to be rivals.
China had earlier called on the US to exercise restraint in using trade protection measures. Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Yesui had also warned that while China did not want to fight a trade war with the US, it would not sit idly by “if the US takes actions that hurt Chinese interests.”
In 2017, China exported about 740,000 metric tons of steel products to the US, down by about 6 percent from 2016, according to the US Census Bureau.
Trump announced plans to impose a 25-percent tariff on steel imports and 10-percent tariffs on aluminum last week, sparking a flurry of criticism both at home and aboard.
Washington ‘considering tariff exemptions’
Meanwhile, the White House said on Wednesday that there could be a 30-day tariff exemption for Mexico and Canada and some “other countries” based on national security concerns.
“There are potential carve-outs for Mexico and Canada based on national security, and possibly other countries as well, based on that process,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said.
“That would be a case-by-case and country-by-country basis but it would be determined [by] whether or not there is a national security exemption,” she said.
Trump’s import tariffs are expected to be announced by the end of next week.