Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Hanhui also said at a press briefing on Thursday that China is “against the trade war, but we are not afraid of it.”
US President Donald Trump initiated what is effectively a trade war with China last year, when he first imposed unusually heavy tariffs on imports from the country. Since then, the two sides have exchanged tariffs on more than $360 billion in two-way trade.
The two sides have held talks to settle the issue, but all to no avail so far. Their latest round of trade negotiations ended earlier this month without conclusion.
They have yet to set a date to resume the talks, with the US president announcing an increase of tariffs from 10 percent to 25 percent on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports and Beijing hiking its own tariffs on $60 billion worth of American products.
China strongly opposes the US tariff hikes, saying they are harmful not only to China and the US, but to the whole world. Washington, for its part, says a primary goal of the aggressive tariff strategy is to decrease the trade imbalance with China, which totaled $379 billion in 2018.
“This premeditated instigation of a trade conflict is naked economic terrorism, economic chauvinism, and economic bullying,” Zhang further said, stressing, “There is no winner in a trade war.”
China’s state media have already suggested that Beijing, in a retaliatory move, could halt exports of rare earths to the US, depriving Washington of a key material to make tech products.
“This trade conflict will also have a serious negative impact on the development and revival of the global economy,” Zhang warned.
US officials misleading public about trade war: ChinaChina says American officials are lying to the public about the US-China trade war.
The trade war has also pushed China to promote expanding cooperation with neighboring Russia in various fields. Chinese President Xi Jinping is due on an official visit to Russia next week.
“China and Russia will certainly strengthen economic and trade cooperation, including cooperation in various fields such as economic and trade investment,” added Zhang. “We will certainly respond to various external challenges, do what we have to do, develop our economies, and constantly improve the living standards of our two peoples.”
Most observers have already warned that the persisting trade war between Beijing and the US could shatter global economic growth and hurt demand for commodities like oil.
Last week, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said that consumers in the US and China were “unequivocally the losers from trade tensions,” warning that the current trade war would “jeopardize” global growth this year, weakening confidence and pushing up prices for consumers.