A spiralling trade war between the United States and China will drag back global growth and limit jobs, Australia Trade Minister Steve Ciobo says.
US President Donald Trump announced tariffs on US$34 billion worth of Chinese products, and the Chinese retaliated with the same amount.
China “doesn’t want a trade war” but has to “fight back strongly,” said a Commerce Ministry statement said on Saturday.
“None of this is good for global trade. These moves will provide a further drag on global growth and that’s a net negative,” Mr Ciobo told reporters in Sydney on Saturday.
The United States and China have the world’s biggest trading relationship but official ties are increasingly strained over complaints Beijing’s industry development tactics violate its free-trade pledges and hurt American companies.
Mr Ciobo said it was too early to say how the tariffs would affect Australia.
“As we see these tariffs go up on both sides – China-USA , Canada-USA, Mexico-USA, Europe-USA – these are drags on global growth, they’re drags on opportunities to create employment,” he said.
Mr Ciobo said a third of Australia’s GDP growth had come from new export markets opened up in China, Japan, Korea and Singapore thanks to free trade deals.