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China warns of 'strong' measures to counter Trump's tariffs

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China will take "strong" measures to protect its own interests, the Ministry of Commerce said in response to President Donald Trump's decision to levy tariffs on steel and aluminum imports.

[BEIJING] China will take "strong" measures to protect its own interests, the Ministry of Commerce said in response to President Donald Trump's decision to levy tariffs on steel and aluminum imports.

The measures will be based on evaluation of the potential losses triggered by the US trade actions, the ministry said in a statement on its website Friday.

"China urges the US to respect the authority of the multilateral trade system, and repeal the measures as soon as possible," it said.

China's exports surged and its trade surplus unexpectedly widened in February, illustrating the lopsided nature of global commerce that Donald Trump is preparing to introduce protectionist measures against.

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China said the US is sabotaging the multilateral system represented by the World Trade Organization, and its actions will "seriously shake" the global trade order.

The comments follow those of China's foreign minister Wang Yi, who Thursday criticised the US's decision to brand the country as a "strategic competitor" and dismissed the notion that it poses a threat to the world's biggest economy.

Mr Wang told a briefing on the sidelines of China's national legislative session that the designation included in recent Trump administration national security documents was "fundamentally wrong."

Trade tensions may be set to deepen further. The US is said to be considering clamping down on Chinese investment and imposing tariffs on a broad range of goods to punish Beijing over unfair intellectual-property practices as part of an ongoing US investigation ordered by Mr Trump.

Worsening trade ties will test China's policy of "strategic composure" in dealing with Mr Trump's America First ethos.

BLOOMBERG

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