China slams United States trade threats as 'blackmail', says will 'fight back firmly'

US President Donald Trump- shown here at the White House earlier this month- has taken a tough stance on trade in his second year in office

US President Donald Trump- shown here at the White House earlier this month- has taken a tough stance on trade in his second year in office

Responding to the news, the Chinese commerce ministry said Beijing will retaliate by imposing similar penalties on American goods, if Washington delivers on its threat.

The move, which drew a strong response from Beijing, follows China's announcement that it would retaliate in kind to Trump's initial decision last week to hit $50 billion worth of Chinese goods with a 25 percent tariff.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpEx-ethics chief calls on Trump to end "monstrous" migrant policies Laura Bush blasts Trump migrant policy as "cruel" and "immoral" United States denies report of coalition airstrike on Syria MORE on Monday said he is directing his top trade official to identify $200 billion more worth of Chinese goods that will be subject to tariffs, escalating the ongoing trade dispute between the USA and China.

"Such a practice of extreme pressure and blackmailing deviates from the consensus reached by both sides on multiple occasions, and is a disappointment for the worldwide community", the ministry said in a statement on Tuesday. "The trade relationship between the United States and China must be much more equitable", he said. That stemmed from a U.S. Trade Representative investigation that determined Chinese theft of U.S. intellectual property and forced technology transfers threatened to undermine U.S. competitiveness.

"If the United States acts irrationally and issues a list, China will have no choice but to take comprehensive measures of a corresponding number and quality and take strong, powerful countermeasures".

"This latest action by China clearly indicates its determination to keep the United States at a permanent and unfair disadvantage", Trump said.

In response, China announced tariffs on $34bn of U.S. goods including agricultural products, cars and marine products which will also take effect from 6 July.

Trump's latest move, as Washington fights trade battles on several fronts, was unexpectedly swift and sharp.

He said the USA would impose tariffs on another $200 billion after that if Beijing retaliates. "The United States initiated a trade war and violated the laws of the market".

Trump Targets $200 Billion In Chinese Imports As Spat Grows
That means things like tourism and education, industries from which the United States benefits a lot more than China does. This comes after the USA slapped 25 percent duties on $50 billion worth of Chinese imports.

Mr. Trump had announced a 25 percent tariff on up to $50 billion in Chinese imports.

"Rather than altering those practices, it is now threatening United States companies, workers, and farmers who have done nothing wrong", he said.

The dollar fell 0.45 percent to 110.06 yen following Trump's tariff comments. "It did not meet the current development trend of the world, harmed the interests of the people and enterprises of China and the United States, and harmed the interests of the people of the world".

Fears the spat between the world's two largest economies could intensify added to pressure on oil prices, which extended Friday's big fall into the start of week, while the dollar retreated from a seven-month high against a basket of currencies. "At the President's direction, USTR is preparing the proposed tariffs to offset China's action", Lighthizer said.

Derek Scissors, a China scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, a Washington think tank, said that means China will soon run out of imports of USA goods on which to impose retaliatory tariffs.

In a statement issued by the White House press office on Monday, Trump said, "I have an excellent relationship with President Xi, and we will continue working together on many issues".

"China doesn't want a trade war", China's foreign ministry spokesperson Lu Kang said Friday in a statement.

China has already responded firmly, accusing Trump of "blackmail" and promising "strong countermeasures" if America goes through with its $200bn threat.

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