'We're Not Afraid Of A Trade War', Beijing Warns

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2018-03-23 HKT 09:51

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  • A worker watches as government inspectors check imported frozen pork in a warehouse in Shandong province. China has announced a list of US goods that it said may be hit with higher import duties in response to US tariff hikes. File photo: AP

    A worker watches as government inspectors check imported frozen pork in a warehouse in Shandong province. China has announced a list of US goods that it said may be hit with higher import duties in response to US tariff hikes. File photo: AP

China warned the United States on Friday that it was "absolutely not afraid of a trade war" after President Donald Trump unveiled tariffs on Chinese imports.

"China does not want to fight a trade war, but it is absolutely not afraid of a trade war," the commerce ministry said in a statement after unveiling a list of potential retaliatory tariffs on US$3 billion worth US goods.

The commerce ministry warned in a statement that a 15 percent tariff on a first batch of goods worth almost US$1 billion – including fresh fruit, nuts and wine – would be imposed if the United States fails to reach a negotiated agreement.

A 25 percent levy would be imposed on a second category of goods totalling nearly US$2 billion, including pork and aluminium scrap, after "further evaluating the impact of the US measures on China," the statement said.

"China and the United States as the world's top two economies, cooperation is the only right choice for the two countries," the statement said.

China "urges the US side to resolve the concerns of the Chinese side as soon as possible" through dialogue and "avoid damage to the overall situation of Sino-US cooperation," it said.

The list noticeably does not include soybeans, which Chinese state-run newspaper the Global Times had suggested should be targeted by Beijing.

It would be a major blow to US farmers, as a third of their soybean exports go to China, which totalled US$14 billion last year.

And the political stakes are high: Trump defeated Hillary Clinton in the 10 top soybean-producing states in the 2016 election.

President Donald Trump on Thursday hit China with tariffs on up to US$60 billion of imports to retaliate against the "theft" of American intellectual property, fuelling fears of a trade war between the world's two largest economies. (AFP)