Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Thursday that China is going to respond as necessary in the event of a trade war with the United States adding that such a war would only harm all sides.
Last week, President Donald Trump announced that he was going to set tariffs of 25 percent on imported steel as well as 10 percent on imported aluminum. However, the White House stated that there could be a 30-day exemption for Mexico and Canada and several other countries.
The move is meant to counter cheap imports, especially from China, which Trump claims undermine U.S. industry and jobs.
According to Reuters, Trump’s administration has faced growing opposition to the tariffs from prominent congressional Republicans and business officials worried about their potential impact on the economy.
Zhou Hao, a senior emerging markets economist at Commerzbank, told Reuters that “trade tension with the United States has jumped to the top of the list of risks facing China this year.” Meanwhile, Reuters Global Markets Forum reported that their latest data showed exports surging 44.5 percent in February from a year earlier.
Minister Wang also added that China and the United States did not have to be rivals because history shows that trade wars are not the right way to fix problems.
Trump is expected to sign a presidential proclamation on Thursday which will establish the tariffs, though White House officials stated that it could be postponed to Friday because several documents have to be cleared first through a legal process.
European Financial Affairs Commissioner Pierre Moscovici also warned Trump that although Europe as well wants to avoid a trade war with the United States they have prepared immediate counter-measures just in case.
“If Donald Trump puts in place the measures this evening, we have a whole arsenal at our disposal with which to respond,” Moscovici told BFM TV on Thursday.
Reuters wrote that the counter-measures would include European tariffs on U.S. exported oranges, tobacco, and bourbon as well as a complaint before the World Trade Organization.
“We must accept that the world becomes a place of each man for himself,” the commissioner said.
Moscovici added that some of the goods under consideration are largely produced in constituencies held by Trump’s Republican party.
“We want Congress to understand that this would be a lose-lose situation,” he said.