May 8 (UPI) -- China will retaliate if the United States follows through with plans to increase tariffs on $200 billion worth of goods later this week, Beijing said Wednesday.
The Chinese Ministry of Commerce fired the warning shot after President Donald Trump reiterated his plans for the hike in a series of Wednesday morning tweets.
"The escalation of trade tensions did not suit the interest of the people of the two countries or the people of the world," the ministry said. "Beijing will have no choice but to implement countermeasures."
Trump addressed the trade dispute ahead of a planned visit by a Chinese delegation led by Vice Premier Liu He to negotiate a new trade deal between the two countries.
"The reason for the China pullback & attempted renegotiation of the Trade Deal is the sincere HOPE that they will be able to 'negotiate' with Joe Biden or one of the very weak Democrats, and thereby continue to ripoff the United States (($500 Billion a year)) for years to come," Trump tweeted.
The United States' trade deficit to China in 2018 was $419 billion, up from $375 billion in 2017.
"Guess what, that's not going to happen! China has just informed us that they (Vice-Premier) are now coming to the U.S. to make a deal. We'll see, but I am very happy with over $100 Billion a year in Tariffs filling U.S. coffers ... great for U.S., not good for China!"
On Sunday, Trump announced he would increase tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods from 10 percent to 25 percent, and that additional tariffs on $325 billion worth of currently untaxed goods would be imposed at a rate of 25 percent "shortly."
In February, Trump delayed a tariff hike planned for March 1, citing "productive" talks between the United States and China.
Trump said the decision to raise tariffs Friday was a result of prolonged negotiations to end the ongoing trade war between the two countries.
Tit-for-tat tariffs fueled talks of a trade war between China and the United States last summer and pushed down prices for some U.S. agricultural goods. Soybean prices neared a 10-year low Wednesday, at $8.19 a bushel.
"There was some optimism that we could get a trade deal put together," Al Kluis, the managing director of Kluis Commodity Advisors in Wayzata, Minn., told UPI. "Then, all of a sudden, instead of a deal, it was a threat to add more tariffs. It was a bombshell, and prices sharply lowered."