(Yicai Global) July 5 -- China would never fire the starting salvo in a trade war, the country's commerce ministry said, as the United States gears up to slap punitive tariffs on USD34 billion of Chinese imports tomorrow.
If the US proceeds to impose the new duties, China would be compelled to retaliate to protect its interests, spokesman Gao Feng said at a ministry press briefing today.
A number of Chinese government officials warned today that Beijing would immediately follow the US duties with its own on US-produced goods, as the cabinet decided earlier this year.
More than USD20 billion worth of the goods in the US's sights are made by foreign companies in China, according to the commerce ministry's calculations, Gao said. The tariffs would impact firms from across the world, with American firms taking pride of place among them, he added.
The ministry is well aware of the US's repeated threat in recent days to impose excise duties on all USD500 billion worth of goods that China ships to the country, Gao said. Were this not enough, the US has also threatened other nations and regions that are its trade partners, the spokesman added.
Such hegemonic bullying seeks to strong-arm all other countries by brandishing the tariff rod. China will not bow to threats and extortion, nor stay its hand or flag in its resolution to defend the freedom of the multi-polar global trade order, Gao added.
Editor: Ben Armour