China’s finance ministry said that it will “absolutely not” initiate a trade war with the United States but made it clear that the White House’s decision to implement tariffs expected this week will be met with immediate retaliation.
“The Chinese government’s position has been stated many times. We absolutely will not fire the first shot, and will not implement tariff measures ahead of the United States doing so,” the ministry said.
Tariffs imposed on $34 billion of Chinese exports are due to take effect on Friday morning Beijing time, according to Reuters. The foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang also said on Wednesday that “China has already made preparations” should the move go ahead.
“As long as the United States issues a so-called tariff list, China will take necessary measures to firmly protect its legitimate interests,” he said in a press briefing.