Trade threats

BEIJING – China’s commerce ministry said on Thursday trade negotiations with the United States would be impossible as Washington’s attempts at dialogue were not sincere, and vowed to retaliate if US President Donald Trump escalates current tensions.

China President Xi Jinping on Tuesday vowed to open China’s economy further and lower import duties on goods such as cars, boosting hopes for an easing of tensions between both nations.

Mr Trump responded via Twitter he was “thankful” for Xi’s remarks on tariffs and access for US automakers, and said both countries would “make great progress together.”

Commerce Ministry spokesman Gao Feng told reporters during a regular briefing, however, that Xi’s remarks had nothing to do with the trade row and should not be mischaracterized as a concession to Washington.

“I hope some people in the U.S do not misjudge the situation,” he said.

“If the United States takes any action to escalate the situation, China will not hesitate to fight back.”

The world’s two largest economies have threatened each other with tens of billions of dollars’ worth of tariffs in recent weeks, spurring worries of a full-scale trade war that could damage global growth and roil markets.