US TREASURY Secretary Steve Mnuchin has hinted that America is ready for an all out trade war with China and warned the US will defend its interests if China tries to play hardball over trade.
President Donald Trump opened up the rift between America and China again yesterday when he proposed slapping an additional 100 billion US dollars (£71 billion) in tariffs on Chinese goods.
His announcement came a day after Beijing announced plans to tax 50 billion dollars (£35 billion) in American products, including soybeans and small aircraft, in response to a US move this week to add tariffs on 50 billion dollars in Chinese imports.
Mr Mnuchin said: “On the one hand, we absolutely are willing to negotiate and not get into trade wars but on the other hand, the president is perfectly willing to defend interests.
"We are willing to negotiate. We are in communication with them regularly I am in communications."
The Treasury Secretary made it clear that US officials including himself are in regular communication with China as a tariff dispute escalates between the two countries.
China’s Commerce Ministry spokesman Gao Feng told a media briefing in Beijing, China will not hesitate to respond if the US adds further tariffs,
He added that economic officials on both sides had not recently held any trade negotiations, as it is impossible under current conditions.
The ministry added in a statement that China will dedicate itself to the end and at any cost and will definitely fight back firmly” if the US persists in its “protectionism.”
Mr Trump’s proposal intensified what was already shaping up to be the biggest trade battle since the Second World War.