CHINA has warned that all trade talks between Beijing and Washington will be void if the US sets up trade sanctions.
After talks between Vice Premier Liu He and US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, China said it was ready to boost imports from many countries.
Ross's China visit comes days after Washington threatened to impose extra tariffs on $50bn of Chinese goods.
Meanwhile, G7 nations have hit out at the US over its new steel and aluminium import tariffs.
French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire warned a trade war could begin in "a few days".
On Saturday President Trump insisted on Twitter that the US had been "ripped off by other countries for years on trade".
He says steel tariffs will protect US steelmakers, which he says are vital to national security. Mr Trump has also complained about barriers US firms face in Europe and elsewhere.
"Time to get smart!" he added.
Trade sanctions: The basics
What is a trade war? It's when countries attack each other's trade with taxes and quotas. One will raise tariffs, a type of tax, causing the other to respond, in a tit-for-tat escalation. This can hurt economies and lead to rising political tensions.
What are tariffs? Taxes on products made abroad. In theory, taxing items coming into the country (imports) makes people less likely to buy them as they become more expensive. They're likely to buy cheaper local products instead, boosting your country's economy.
What's a trade deficit? The difference between how much your country buys from another country, compared with how much you sell to that country. The US has a massive trade deficit with China. Last year, it stood at about $375bn.
What are the Chinese saying?
A statement released by the Chinese side at the talks with the US in Beijing said nothing specific about the outcome, and referred back to an agreement reached in Washington last month to increase purchase of US goods and services.
"To implement the consensus reached in Washington, the two sides have had good communication in various areas such as agriculture and energy, and have made positive and concrete progress while relevant details are yet to be confirmed by both sides," the statement said.
But state news agency Xinhua carried a statement which warned against a trade war and said the two sides should meet each other half way.
"Reform and opening up and expanding domestic demand are China's national strategies. Our established rhythm will not change," it said.
"If the United States introduces trade sanctions including tariffs, all the economic and trade achievements negotiated by the two parties will be void."