China vows to defend its interests against US trade actions

FILE- In this Aug. 5, 2010, file photo, a container is loaded onto a cargo ship at the Tianjin port in China. Farmers, electronics retailers and other U.S. businesses are bracing for a backlash as President Donald Trump prepares to target China for stealing American technology or pressuring U.S. companies to give it away. (AP Photo/Andy Wong, File)

BEIJING — The Chinese government vowed Thursday to take "all necessary measures" to defend the country's interests if President Donald Trump targets it for allegedly stealing American technology or pressuring U.S. companies to hand it over.

"China will not sit idly to see its legitimate rights damaged and must take all necessary measures to resolutely defend its legitimate rights," the Commerce Ministry in Beijing said in a statement on its website.

The Trump administration is expected later Thursday to impose trade sanctions on China, perhaps including restrictions on Chinese investment and tariffs on as much as $60 billion worth of Chinese products.

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told reporters that Beijing hoped the U.S. would "refrain from taking actions that are detrimental to both sides."

Dozens of industry groups sent a letter last weekend to Trump warning that "the imposition of sweeping tariffs would trigger a chain reaction of negative consequences for the U.S. economy, provoking retaliation; stifling U.S. agriculture, goods, and services exports; and raising costs for businesses and consumers."

The announcement will mark the end of a seven-month U.S. investigation into the hardball tactics China has used to challenge U.S. supremacy in technology, including dispatching hackers to steal commercial secrets and demanding that U.S. companies hand over trade secrets in exchange for access to the Chinese market. The administration argues that years of negotiations with China have failed to produce results.

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