China vows to fight back if USA escalates trade spat

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In a move to further force China to lower the billions of goods trade surplus running with the US, Trump unveiled tariff representing about US$50 billion of technology, transport and medical products early this month, drawing an immediate threat of retaliatory action from Beijing. "Over the course of this year, growth will likely cool, responding to policy tightening at home and trade uncertainty overseas".

Still, last month's surplus with the U.S. fell to $15.4 billion from February's $21 billion, while it was also down from $17.7 billion during the same period in 2017.

Chinese President Xi Jinping on Tuesday said China wants to expand imports and achieve a better global trade balance. "Like the U.S., it's becoming more driven by domestic demand every year".

Mr Jing said the measures being taken by the Trump White House run counter to the principles and spirit of the WTO and are not beneficial to the USA and its economic interest.

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The navy began three days of exercises off Hainan on Wednesday, but ended them a day early on Thursday, the provincial maritime safety administration said. "We believe that this trade friction is not conducive to China's interests, nor is it conducive to the interests of the United States".

China's trade surplus with the USA jumped 19% in the first three months of the year compared to the same period last year, the Customs Administration in Beijing said Friday.

Last month, President Xi delivered a strongly nationalistic speech in which he vowed to protect "every inch" of China's territory.

Speaking at the Boao Forum for Asia, he outlined a "four-point plan" to open up key sectors such as manufacturing and finance and liberalize foreign investment.

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China now has the world's largest armed forces - but Xi's tenure has seen further investment in technology, new equipment, such as stealth fighters and troop carriers, and also training programmes.

Data released by the General Administration of Customs showed that the surplus with the United States jumped 19.4% to US$58 billion between January and March compared to the same period previous year. "We hope trade relations can return to the track of healthy and stable development".

The Commerce Ministry denied Thursday that had anything to do with the dispute with Washington and said negotiations were impossible while Trump was threatening tariff increases on a possible $100 billion list of additional goods.

"Now we're really negotiating and I think they're going to treat us really fairly", he told Republican leaders from farm states at a White House meeting.

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Treasury, in a semiannual report on Friday, again refrained from naming any major trading partners as currency manipulators. Higher US interest rates would generally increase the value of the US dollar, making US exports more expensive.

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