China’s government has said it is preparing to intervene in the US-Chinese trade war amid concerns that a global trade war could escalate.
The move came as US President Donald Trump accused China of unfairly devaluing its currency to win more US export deals.
US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said on Monday the US is “committed to defending our nation’s interests, and we will continue to pursue these measures”.
“We are working with our partners to ensure that we can defend our national interests, including our relationship with China, and will continue our efforts to ensure the safety and security of US consumers and businesses,” Mr Ross said in a statement.
US and Chinese companies face off on a range of topics including tariffs and currency manipulation in a trade dispute that has divided the world’s two largest economies for years.
But the stakes have been raised this week with the announcement of a trade deal between the US and China that is likely to be the biggest in history.
It would see the US lift tariffs on about 85% of Chinese goods, a move that would help the US export more to China than any other country in the world.
China’s state media also took aim at US President-elect Donald Trump and his administration.
“Trump is the world-class manipulator of facts and figures and has no intention of letting go of his lies and lies, which he has spread like a virus,” said a commentary by the Global Times, a tabloid owned by the Communist Party’s official mouthpiece, the People’s Daily.
“As a result, he has caused many serious harm to the bilateral relationship.”
US President Barack Obama has said the US would “reject any attempt by China to take advantage of the situation” but said that China’s actions were “not a good deal for America”.
The US has also been accused of devaluing the yuan against the yuan by China’s central bank in an attempt to win the business of the country’s biggest exporter.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has warned that any move by the US to intervene could “lead to a financial crisis for the entire world”.
It is not clear if the IMF will take a stance on the trade war, which it said would be difficult to predict.
“It is clear that the US has the right to protect itself,” said David Korten, head of emerging market economics at Barclays.
“China will be looking to make a big difference and will do everything it can to undermine the US economy.”
The trade war was sparked by the Trump administration’s decision to pull out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal.
It was followed by China taking the US out of a major multilateral climate change deal, which was signed in 2015.
US President Andrew Puzder, who had pushed for the TPP to be signed, said in an interview that China had “abused” the deal and was “destroying” it.
China, which is expected to announce a plan to increase exports to the US later on Monday, also has been accused by Mr Trump of dumping steel in the United States.
It has said that the move will cost US manufacturers tens of billions of dollars.
The US trade deficit with China has jumped from $26.7 billion in January to $31.6 billion in October.