The US imposition of tariffs on $34 billion of China’s exports will not only hurt China, but the US itself and the rest of the world, a government official said.
That’s because $20 billion of those goods are produced by foreign companies, including American companies, Gao Feng, China’s Commerce Ministry spokesman, said at a regular press conference in Beijing Thursday.
China won’t bow to threats or blackmail and will have to fight back if the US goes ahead and imposes the tariffs, Gao said. Other nations understand China’s situation, he said, adding that China will protect the legitimate rights of foreign companies doing business here.
Gao spoke a day before both the US and China are scheduled to start levying additional tariffs on targeted Chinese imports. In response to a question about whether China would actually start levying tariffs first due to the time difference, Gao reiterated that “China won’t fire the first shot”. It is the US who has “provoked” this trade war, and China is forced to retaliate, he said.
After earlier indicating that it would start imposing the duties a few hours ahead of the U.S., the Ministry of Finance backtracked on Wednesday and said it would actually wait until after the U.S. acted.
China’s proposed additional tariffs on US goods will become effective “immediately” after the US imposes its levies, according to a statement on General Administration of Customs Thursday.
China’s exports to the US expanded 5.4 percent in the first half, 13.9 percentage points lower than the same period last year, according to the General Administration of Customs. — Bloomberg