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China calls on US to 'cease and desist' from endangering trade relations

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
This file picture shows the Chinese embassy gate in Washington, DC.

China has strongly denounced US President Donald Trump's decision to impose tariffs on billions of dollars in Chinese goods in retaliation against the alleged theft of American intellectual property, warning that such measures would put the two economies on course for a trade war.

“If a trade war were initiated by the US, China would fight to the end to defend its own legitimate interests with all necessary measures,” China's embassy in Washington said in a statement released on Thursday.

“We urge the US to cease and desist,” the statement added, warning that Washington will “eventually end up hurting itself” by endangering China-US trade relations.

The diplomatic mission said China had shown "sincerity in making reasonable suggestions" and made "great efforts" to deal with the current trade imbalance with the United States.

China vows response

Meanwhile, an unnamed official with the Chinese Ministry of Commerce said on Thursday that Beijing will “take all necessary measures” to defend its rights and interests in the wake of US protectionism.

“China will absolutely not sit back watching its rights and interests be damaged. China has made clear its position several times that it stands firmly against such unilateral and trade protectionist practices from the US side,” the official said.

Trump has directed US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to identify and publish a proposed list of products that could be subject to tariffs.

The tariffs and investment restrictions will be imposed under the US Trade Representative's "Section 301" investigation into alleged misappropriation of US intellectual property by China.

The new import duties will target industrial sectors where "China has sought to acquire an advantage through the unfair acquisition or forced technology transfer from US companies," senior White House economic advisor Everett Eissenstat told reporters before Trump’s announcement.

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