China warns of strong action if US imposes new tariffs

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Beijing, March 22 (IANS) China on Thursday strongly opposed new trade restrictions and warned of strong action if US President Donald Trump approved new tariffs and sanctions against the country.

Trump, who recently announced controversial tariffs on aluminium and steel imports, is expected to announce new tariffs and fines worth $50 billion against China later in the day to counterbalance the trade deficit with the country.

“China has indicated its position many times, we are strongly against the unilateral and protectionist conduct of the US,” the Chinese Commerce Ministry said in a statement cited by Efe news.

The Ministry said these restrictions on foreign trade were also being opposed by at least 45 US trade associations.

“We hope the US can clearly see that trade and economic relations between China and the US are mutually beneficial and does not take steps that harm others or itself,” the statement added.

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Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said that both countries had addressed trade disputes many times amicably and stressed that absolute reciprocity was impossible in trade.

New taxes on 100 categories of imported products from China, ranging from shoes and ropes to electronic gadgets, were set to be signed at 12.30 p.m. in the White House, the US media had reported earlier.

If approved, these would be the harshest trade restrictions imposed by Trump on another country and would go far beyond the global tariffs worth $33 billion imposed on aluminium and steel, which also affect Beijing.

Tensions between the two biggest economies in the world have been steadily rising and on Wednesday White House officials had accused Beijing of violating World Trade Organization agreements on intellectual property and technology transfers.

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