United States launches WTO challenge against China

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The measures are to "balance out the loss sustained by China" through Washington's move to impose steel and aluminium tariffs on imports, the ministry continued. "We can't let that happen", he said.

"Washington should dismiss the idea that China will concede in this trade war because it will find no white flags to mark China's surrender", it said.

"Markets are on a knife-edge, fearing a trade war", says Peter Rosenstreich of Swissquote Bank, Switzerland's leading online bank.

Stock markets in Asia took a dive on Friday, with Tokyo's Nikkei closing down 4.5 percent and the Hang Seng in Hong Kong falling 2.5 percent.

The dollar dipped to 104.90 yen as investors shifted into the Japanese currency, which is viewed as a "safe haven" from risk.

The Foreign Ministry explained that low-priced and labor-intensive products from China have "considerably lowered" the consumption cost for the American consumer, all while helping the U.S. deal with inflation.

Liu, for his part, noted the report violates global trade rules, and is detrimental to the interests of China, the United States as well as the whole world.

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said China would not hold back in retaliating.

The request comes a day after US President Donald Trump announced that he was directing the USTR to pursue dispute settlement in the WTO to confront China over its policies that result in unfair treatment for US companies and innovators trying to do business in China.

Bolton said China cheats by providing subsidies to exports and discriminating against foreign entities, including through the legal system, while enjoying the benefits of WTO membership.

So it's no surprise China is "fully prepared to defend" itself and retaliate with tariffs on USA goods.

It's unclear how the regulations will affect the U.S. However, representatives on Capitol Hill maintain a positive outlook, and are standing firmly behind the president and U.S. workers. "Nevertheless, the first volley of shots and retaliatory response has been set off". And French President Emmanuel Macron said Europe would respond "without weakness" to Washington's threats of tariffs on steel and aluminium.

The increased trade tension could prove to be a challenge for President Xi Jinping.

The sanctions Mr Trump proposed on Thursday could affect as much as $60 billion in imports and are a response to allegations Beijing steals or forces foreign companies to hand over technology.

"China urges the United States to resolve China's concerns as soon as possible, resolve differences through dialogue and consultation, and avoid harming the overall situation of Sino-U.S. cooperation", a ministry spokesperson said in the statement. Though Beijing's actions so far are seen by analysts as measured, there may be more to come. As such, analysts said USA tariff measures could hurt the implementation of China's 2025 goals.

The total "Made in China 2025" is likely to exceed US$1.5 billion.

Chinese imports of fresh fruit and nuts have surged in recent years thanks to the country's rapidly growing middle class, which has given rise to a new generation of consumers willing to splurge on healthy food. He said Trump and Xi agreed a year ago on a 100-day agenda of trade-liberalisation measures but Beijing failed to act on about half of them.

Chinese officials strongly condemned the move.

In response, China is reportedly set to impose new a tariffs ranging from 15% to 25% on 128 different U.S. goods including fresh fruit, wine, modified ethanol, steel pipe, and more. The U.S. exported $669 million of fruit, frozen juice and nuts to China a year ago, and it was the top supplier of apples, cherries, walnuts and almonds.