July 6, 2018 / 12:10 AM / a year ago

China foreign minister slams trade protectionism as short-sighted, damaging

FILE PHOTO: China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi waits for Denmark's Foreign Minister Anders Samuelsen to arrive for a meeting at the Foreign Ministry in Beijing, China June 21, 2018. Greg Baker/Pool via REUTERS

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi said trade protectionism was “short-sighted” behaviour and would harm all sides, the country’s foreign ministry said in a statement on Friday, amid sharpening trade tensions between Washington and Beijing.

Wang Yi, who is also China’s State Councillor, said during a visit to Austria that any unilateral acts would go against the principles of the World Trade Organization and would damage the multilateral global trading system.

Wang added that Europe and China should work together to jointly safeguard the global free trade system.

The United States will impose tariffs on $34 billion in Chinese goods on Friday and has warned that subsequent rounds could hit over $500 billion in Chinese exports. China is expected to fire back with its own tariffs against U.S. goods.

Reporting by Adam Jourdan; editing by Richard Pullin

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