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China says it won't back down in a trade war started by Trump

It says the US behaviour represents a typical 'trade bully', posing a grave threat to the global value chain

Geneva

CHINA fired back at President Donald Trump's latest tariff barrage, saying it won't back down in the trade war that was started unilaterally by the US.

China "never yields to threat or blackmail", Vice-Minister of Commerce Wang Shouwen said in written comments to Bloomberg on Wednesday. "The US side . . . adopted unilateral and protectionist measures, and started the trade war."

Mr Wang's comments come just hours after the US launched a process under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974 to respond to "China's harmful industrial policies" with 10 per cent tariffs on US$200 billion worth of Chinese goods.

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This marks a dramatic escalation in global tensions, causing stocks to slump and with S&P 500 futures headed for their biggest drop in two weeks.

The tariffs, which could go into effect as soon as this fall, are in addition to the 25 per cent duties Mr Trump had imposed on US$34 billion worth of Chinese goods on July 6.

Mr Wang also accused the Trump administration officials of not negotiating in good faith with the Chinese government and unilaterally escalating the dispute.

"China made great efforts and demonstrated utmost sincerity to stabilise trade relations with the US," Mr Wang said. "Regrettably, the US side did not honour its words, chopping and changing all the time."

There have been no confirmed high-level talks between the world's two largest economies since an early June visit to Beijing by US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross that achieved no breakthroughs.

"The US behaviour represents a typical 'trade bully', posing a grave threat to the global value chain," Mr Wang said. "It will hamper global economic recovery, hurting many businesses and ordinary people around the world. It will harm the interest of companies, employees and consumers in both China and the US."

Mr Wang said China will not hesitate to retaliate against the Trump administration's "completely groundless" 301 tariffs and defended Beijing's response to the last round of American duties, saying that its measures are "fully based on solid domestic law and international rules". BLOOMBERG

READ MORE: US ramps up trade row with China, threatens new tariffs

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