China's Ministry of Commerce said Wednesday that China has responded with restraint to the U.S. tariff proposals.
"I have to say that we were forced to take countermeasures and we have reacted with restraint," Vice Minister of Commerce Wang Shouwen told a press briefing.
China Wednesday unveiled a list of products worth 50 billion U.S. dollars imported from the United States that will have an additional tariff of 25 percent imposed on them, including soybeans, automobiles, and chemical products.
The move was taken after the U.S. administration announced a proposed list of products subject to a suggested additional tariff of 25 percent, which covers Chinese exports worth 50 billion dollars.
"The U.S. proposals were groundless and violated its international obligations," said Wang.
Despite strong warnings from business groups and trade experts, U.S. President Donald Trump signed a memorandum on March 22 that could impose tariffs on Chinese imports and restrictions on Chinese investment in the United States.
The memorandum is based on a Section 301 investigation, launched by the Trump administration in August 2017, into alleged Chinese intellectual property and technology transfer practices.
"The U.S. proposals went against China's interests, threatened China's economic security, and global economic recovery and stability," said Wang.
Speaking of China's countermeasure in response to a previous U.S. move to slap tariffs on China's steel and aluminum imports, Wang said the U.S. action was not a consideration of national security, but was discriminatory as the proposals only targeted a small number of countries.
"The U.S. reason citing national security was unfounded and the U.S. action has violated the multilateral trade system," said Wang, "China's countermeasure were just in defense of our legitimate interests."
Wang stressed that China remains open to negotiation, and hopes to properly handle the dispute with the United States through dialogue and consultation.
"We don't want a trade war, but we are not afraid of it. If someone insists on starting a trade war, we will fight till the end," Wang said.