NPC 2018: China says it will make necessary response in event of trade war

The flags of the US and China flutter in front of a portrait of late Chinese Chairman Mao Zedong at the Tiananmen gate in Beijing.
The flags of the US and China flutter in front of a portrait of late Chinese Chairman Mao Zedong at the Tiananmen gate in Beijing.PHOTO: REUTERS

BEIJING (Reuters, AFP) - Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Thursday (March 8) that China would make a necessary response in the event of a trade war with the United States but said such a war would only harm all sides.

Speaking on the sidelines of an annual meeting of China's parliament, Wang said China had no intention of displacing the United States and that the two countries did not have to be rivals but should strive to be partners.

Choosing a trade war is surely the wrong prescription, in the end you will only hurt others and yourself," Wang said, adding that "China will certainly make an appropriate and necessary response."

The Trump administration is expected to formally introduce previously announced tariffs on steel and aluminium imports on Thursday in the US.

US imports from China of these two goods make up a small proportion of its total imports from the world's second largest economy.

But the tariffs may be the first foray in an American trade war with Beijing.

In coming weeks, the Trump administration is expected to issue a report on intellectual property theft which may hammer China and possibly incite further tariffs on a wide range of Chinese imports.

Trump brought up the forthcoming moves on Wednesday, saying on Twitter that the US had asked China to develop a plan to reduce the deficit by one billion dollars. The amount is a drop in the bucket compared with record US$375.2 billion trade deficit with China the US racked up last year.

"The US is acting swiftly on Intellectual Property theft. We cannot allow this to happen as it has for many years!" the president also tweeted on Wednesday.