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China says EU escalation of trade friction could trigger ‘trade war’

By Thomson Reuters Jun 21, 2024 | 3:15 AM

BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s commerce ministry said on Friday the European Union has continued to escalate trade friction, which “may trigger a “trade war”.

“Responsibility lies entirely with the EU side,” a ministry spokesperson said in a statement.

China hopes the EU will meet it halfway, handle difference through dialogue and avoid escalating trade friction or allowing it to get out of control, the spokesperson said.

Last week, the European Commission proposed tariffs of up to 38.1% on electric vehicle imports from China despite Beijing’s protest, plunging trade ties to a new low and risking punitive action from the world’s second-largest economy.

The commerce ministry statement was published about an hour before the arrival of German Economy Minister Robert Habeck in Beijing, where he is expected to explain to Chinese officials the recent tariff announcement while allaying the risk of retaliation from China that could harm German businesses. (This story has been corrected to change the day from ‘Thursday’ to ‘Friday’ paragraph 1)

(Reporting by Ella Cao, Ethan Wang and Ryan Woo; Editing by Christopher Cushing, William Maclean)