Trade war erupts as China fights back against US tariffs

 
Catherine Neilan
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"A little fighting may be the only way the Trump administration clears its mind and allows everyone to sober up,” (Source: Getty)

Two of the largest economies in the world have descended into a trade war, after China followed up on its threat to retaliate against the $34bn (£25.7bn) US tariffs.

Minutes after the US put its long-threatened duties into effect just after midnight on Friday morning, a spokesperson for China’s ministry of commerce said it would be matching them dollar-for-dollar.

“China promised not to fire the first shot, but in order to safeguard the country’s core interests as well as that of the people, it is forced to fight back,” a spokesperson for China’s ministry of commerce said, according to news agency Xinhua.

“If what the US wants is to escalate a trade war with China, then so be it. A little fighting may be the only way the Trump administration clears its mind and allows everyone to sober up,” the state-run Global Times said.

“The Trump administration is behaving like a gang of hoodlums with its shakedown of other countries, particularly China,” said an English-language article in the China Daily.

On Thursday, a spokesperson for China’s ministry of commerce said the US will be “opening fire on the whole world and also opening fire on itself.”

The impact is already being felt in the markets. The Shanghai Composite index fell 1.1 per cent, after reaching more than a two-year low this week, while US indices are expected to follow suit when they open later today.

Just before the US tariffs came into force, President Donald Trump had this to say:

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