China says trade war with USA will hurt global economy

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Chinese Minister of Commerce Zhong Shan (C), Vice Minister of Commerce and Deputy China International Trade Representative Wang Shouwen (R), and Vice Minister of Commerce Qian Keming attend a press conference on opening up on all fronts and promoting high quality development of commercial business on the sidelines of the first session of the 13th National People's Congress in Beijing, capital of China, March 11, 2018.

China, however, wants to prevent the trade conflict with Washington from escalating, with the Asian power eager to build good political relations with the United States, sources close to the matter said.

"A trade war will be catastrophic for China, the U.S., and the rest of the world", he said. "But we can handle any challenge, and will firmly defend the interests of our nation and our people", he said.

China will take further measures to boost cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative, Commerce Minister Zhong Shan said here Sunday, outlining major tasks for the next stage.

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China accounts for only a small fraction of U.S. steel imports, but its massive industrial expansion has helped create a global glut of steel that has lowered prices. -China trade deficit by $100 billion.

He noted that China's top economic adviser Liu He visited the U.S. recently and held "candid and constructive" talks with American officials on bilateral trade issues. The figure for February fell slightly from the previous month to US$21 billion, according to the latest data from the customs administration.

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Should the situation worsen, however, Zhong said that China was more than ready.

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China is responding to recent tariffs on steel and aluminum imports imposed by President Donald Trump on Thursday.

Mr Trump believes the tariffs will safeguard American jobs, though many economists say the impact of price increases for users of steel and aluminium, such as the auto and oil industries, will destroy more jobs than curbs on imports create.

China's metals industry issued the country's most explicit threat yet in the row, urging the government to retaliate by targeting United States coal - a sector central to Mr Trump's political base and his election pledge to restore United States industries and blue-collar jobs.

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