China warns Trump’s ‘capricious’ trade actions will hurt US workers

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China’s commerce ministry on Thursday accused the United States of being “capricious” over bilateral trade issues, and warned that the interests of U.S. workers and farmers ultimately will be hurt by Washington’s penchant for brandishing “big sticks.”

Previous trade negotiations with the United States were constructive, but because the U.S. government is being unpredictable and challenging, Beijing has had to respond in a strong manner, commerce ministry spokesman Gao Feng told a regular briefing in Beijing.

President Donald Trump threatened on Monday to hit $200 billion of Chinese imports with 10 percent tariffs if Beijing retaliates against his previous announcement to target $50 billion in imports. The United States has alleged that China is stealing U.S. intellectual property, a charge denied by Beijing.

Washington’s accusations of forced tech transfers are a distortion of reality, and China is fully prepared to respond with “quantitative” and “qualitative” tools if the U.S. releases a new list of tariffs, Gao said.

 

China could hit back at U.S. firms listed on the Dow Jones Industrial Average if Trump keeps heightening tensions with Beijing over trade, state-controlled Chinese tabloid The Global Times said on Thursday.

The 30-stock Dow, which counts Boeing, Apple, and Nike among its constituents, fell 0.17 percent on Wednesday and has declined 0.25 percent this year.

“It is deeply regrettable that the U.S. has been capricious, escalated the tensions, and provoked a trade war,” Gao said. “The U.S. is accustomed to holding ‘big sticks’ for negotiations, but this approach does not apply to China.”

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