While Canada and Mexico and soon other US “allies” have so far been spared the brunt of the Trump import tariffs on aluminum and steel imports as a result of “indefinite” exemptions for the duration of Nafta negotiations, China – the country that is the target of Peter Navarro’s trade scorn – has not been so lucky, and the result has been an outpouring of increasingly hostile jawboning by Beijing, which while taking the Trump gambit in stride so far, is clearly concerned how far Trump could ratchet up protectionist measures.
As a result, on Sunday China said that it will not initiate a trade war with the United States, but vowed to defend its national interests in the face of growing American protectionism.
“There are no winners in a trade war, and it would bring disaster to our two countries as well as the rest of the world,” China’s Minister of Commerce Zhong Shan said at a briefing on the sidelines of the country’s annual parliamentary session according to AP.
“China does not wish to fight a trade war, nor will China initiate a trade war, but we can handle any challenge and will resolutely defend the interests of our country and our people,” he said.
Shan’s statement was Beijing’s latest official remark on “problems in Sino-U.S. economic trade and cooperation,” alluding to Trump’s plan to impose tariffs on imported steel and aluminum.
To be sure, Chinese leaders have threatened in the past to retaliate against raised trade barriers, but have yet to take direct action following Trump’s announcement. Earlier in the week, China’s Foreign Minister, Wang Yi, vowed a “justified and necessary response” to Washington’s initiative, but that too has yet to take any concrete shape.
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