Picture: 123RF/lightwise
Picture: 123RF/lightwise

Beijing — China’s foreign ministry said on Monday that the country would never surrender to external pressure, after the US renewed its threat to impose tariffs on all Chinese imports in an escalating trade dispute.

The trade war between the world’s top two economies escalated on Friday, with the US hiking tariffs on $200bn worth of Chinese goods after US President Donald Trump said Beijing “broke the deal” by reneging on earlier commitments made during months of negotiations.

Trump has ordered US trade representative Robert Lighthizer to begin imposing tariffs on all remaining imports from China, a move that would affect about an additional $300bn worth of goods.

Beijing has vowed to respond to the latest US tariffs, but has announced no details yet.

"As for the details, please continue to pay attention," foreign ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang told a news briefing.

"China will never surrender to external pressure. We have the confidence and the ability to protect our lawful and legitimate rights," Geng said, responding to a question on Trump's threat of putting duties on all Chinese imports.

Ahead of talks last week, China wanted to delete commitments from a draft agreement that Chinese laws would be changed to enact new policies on issues from intellectual property protection to forced technology transfers. That move dealt negotiations to resolve the trade dispute a major setback.

Trump has since defended the tariff hike and said he was in "absolutely no rush" to finalise a deal. 

Reuters