China vows to protect interests in US trade spat

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Beijing, July 5 (IANS) China said on Thursday that it does not want a trade war to start if the US imposes the first round of tariffs on imported Chinese products, but if it does then Beijing will be forced to react in the interests of the country and its people.

On Friday, 25 per cent import tariffs on 818 Chinese items, mostly from the industrial and technology sectors, amounting to $34 billion, are scheduled to go into effect, reports Efe news.

China has repeated several times that it was not going to impose tariffs before the US does, Commerce Ministry spokesperson Gao Feng said at a press conference here.

“US measures are essentially attacking global supply and value chains. To put it simply, the US is opening fire on the entire world, including itself,” he said.

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Nearly 50 per cent of the products subjected to tariffs, accounting for more than $20 billion, are manufactured by foreign firms in China, a majority of them American, Gao said.

He also said that it amounts to violation of provisions of the World Trade Organisation’s General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade 1994 and of the Agreement on Safeguards.

He called on all countries to unite against protectionism and unilateralism.

Beijing had already warned President Donald Trump that if tariffs on Chinese products are imposed, it will react with tariffs on 545 goods imported from the US.

Despite warning of retaliatory tariffs, the spokesperson expressed China’s intention to protect the interests of all the firms based in China and help them diffuse the potential impact of a trade war.

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