China says will fight back 'at any cost' against US trade tariffs

BEIJING, April 6 (Reuters) - China warned it would fight back "at any cost" with fresh measures to safeguard its interests if the United States sticks to its protectionist actions, after President Donald Trump threatened an extra $100 billion in tariffs in a worsening trade dispute between the world's two biggest economies.

Responding to Trump's comments, the commerce ministry on Friday reiterated in a statement that China was not afraid of a trade war even though it did not seek one, and said the conflict had been provoked by the United States.

"If the United States disregards the objections of China and the international community and persists in unilateralism and trade protectionism, the Chinese side will follow through to the end, at any cost, and definitely fight back resolutely," a spokesperson was quoted as saying in the statement posted on the ministry's website.

The Chinese foreign ministry issued an identical statement, which added that Beijing will continue to monitor tariff moves from the United States.

Chinese state media had earlier on Friday slammed Trump's threat of more trade action as "ridiculous" after the U.S. President had directed trade officials to identify tariffs on $100 billion more Chinese imports, escalating an already high-stakes trade dispute between the two nations.

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Dow falls over 700 points after Trump announces China tariff plan
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Dow falls over 700 points after Trump announces China tariff plan
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 22: Traders and financial professionals work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) ahead of the closing bell, March 22, 2018 in New York City. The Dow Jones industrial average closed down more than 700 points on Thursday afternoon. Markets reacted to the Trump administration� announcement of approximately $50 billion worth of yearly tariffs on Chinese imports. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, (NYSE) in New York, U.S., March 22, 2018. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
The Dow Jones Industrial Average is displayed on a screen after the closing bell, over the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, (NYSE) in New York, U.S., March 22, 2018. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, (NYSE) in New York, U.S., March 22, 2018. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
The Dow Jones Industrial Average is displayed on a screen after the closing bell, over the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, (NYSE) in New York, U.S., March 22, 2018. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 22: Traders and financial professionals work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) ahead of the closing bell, March 22, 2018 in New York City. The Dow Jones industrial average closed down more than 700 points on Thursday afternoon. Markets reacted to the Trump administration� announcement of approximately $50 billion worth of yearly tariffs on Chinese imports. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 22: A monitor displays the day's final numbers on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) ahead of the closing bell, March 22, 2018 in New York City. The Dow Jones industrial average closed down more than 700 points on Thursday afternoon. Markets reacted to the Trump administration� announcement of approximately $50 billion worth of yearly tariffs on Chinese imports. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 22: A trader works at his desk on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) ahead of the closing bell, March 22, 2018 in New York City. The Dow Jones industrial average closed down more than 700 points on Thursday afternoon. Markets reacted to the Trump administration� announcement of approximately $50 billion worth of yearly tariffs on Chinese imports. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 22: Traders and financial professionals work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) ahead of the closing bell, March 22, 2018 in New York City. The Dow Jones industrial average closed down more than 700 points on Thursday afternoon. Markets reacted to the Trump administration� announcement of approximately $50 billion worth of yearly tariffs on Chinese imports. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 22: A monitor displays the day's final numbers on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) ahead of the closing bell, March 22, 2018 in New York City. The Dow Jones industrial average closed down more than 700 points on Thursday afternoon. Markets reacted to the Trump administration� announcement of approximately $50 billion worth of yearly tariffs on Chinese imports. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 22: Traders and financial professionals work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) ahead of the closing bell, March 22, 2018 in New York City. The Dow Jones industrial average closed down more than 700 points on Thursday afternoon. Markets reacted to the Trump administration� announcement of approximately $50 billion worth of yearly tariffs on Chinese imports. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 22: A monitor displays the day's final numbers on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) ahead of the closing bell, March 22, 2018 in New York City. The Dow Jones industrial average closed down more than 700 points on Thursday afternoon. Markets reacted to the Trump administration� announcement of approximately $50 billion worth of yearly tariffs on Chinese imports. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 22: Traders and financial professionals work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) ahead of the closing bell, March 22, 2018 in New York City. The Dow Jones industrial average closed down more than 700 points on Thursday afternoon. Markets reacted to the Trump administration� announcement of approximately $50 billion worth of yearly tariffs on Chinese imports. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 22: Traders and financial professionals work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) ahead of the closing bell, March 22, 2018 in New York City. The Dow Jones industrial average closed down more than 700 points on Thursday afternoon. Markets reacted to the Trump administration� announcement of approximately $50 billion worth of yearly tariffs on Chinese imports. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 22: A monitor displays the day's final numbers on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) ahead of the closing bell, March 22, 2018 in New York City. The Dow Jones industrial average closed down more than 700 points on Thursday afternoon. Markets reacted to the Trump administration� announcement of approximately $50 billion worth of yearly tariffs on Chinese imports. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 22: Traders and financial professionals work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) ahead of the closing bell, March 22, 2018 in New York City. The Dow Jones industrial average closed down more than 700 points on Thursday afternoon. Markets reacted to the Trump administration� announcement of approximately $50 billion worth of yearly tariffs on Chinese imports. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
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"This latest intimidation reflects the deep arrogance of some American elites in their attitude towards China," the state-run Global Times said in an editorial. Analysts at Oxford Economics warned that a full-blown trade war will have damaging consequences.

"Importantly, these threatened tariffs will be subject to negotiation, and therefore shouldn’t be considered as final," the analysts wrote in a note to client.

"A (full blown) trade war meanwhile would have a more pronounced effect. The US and China would suffer significant slowdown in real GDP growth – a cumulative loss around 1.0 percentage point," and cut global economic growth to 2.5 percent in 2019 from 3.0 percent in Oxford's baseline scenario.

The escalating tit-for-tat trade actions between the two economic superpowers have roiled global financial markets, as investors worried about the impact on world trade and growth, hitting equities, the dollar and a range of riskier assets such as copper and boosting safe-havens such as the Japanese yen and gold.

The dollar fell in Friday's trade, while U.S. stock futures and most of Asia's stock markets were in the red.

Trump said in a White House statement that the new tariffs were being considered "in light of China's unfair retaliation" against earlier U.S. trade actions, which included a proposed $50 billion of tariffs on Chinese goods.

"This is what a trade war looks like, and what we have warned against from the start," said National Retail Federation President and CEO Matthew Shay.

"We are on a dangerous downward spiral and American families will be on the losing end," Shay added in a statement, urging Trump "to stop playing a game of chicken with the U.S. economy."

(Reporting by Tom Daly and Min Zhang in BEIJING, additional reporting by David Lawder in WASHINGTON Editing by Shri Navaratnam)

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