China and the European Union vowed to oppose trade protectionism in an apparent rebuke to the U.S., saying unilateral actions risked pushing the world into a recession.
Vice Premier Liu He -- President Xi Jinping’s top economic adviser -- said China and the EU had agreed to defend the multilateral trading system, following talks Monday in Beijing. The comments, made at a press briefing with European Commission Vice President Jyrki Katainen, come as both sides prepare to face off against President Donald Trump’s tariff threats.
“Unilateralism is on the rise and trade tensions have appeared in major economies,” Liu said. “China and the EU firmly oppose trade unilateralism and protectionism and think these actions may bring recession and turbulence to the global economy.”
Both China and the EU are coming under pressure from Trump, as the U.S. president seeks to remake a global trading system that he sees as rigged against the world’s largest economy.
After months of rhetoric and threats, the trade fight seems to be coming to a head, with Europe imposing tariffs on $3.3 billion of American products Friday in response to U.S. barriers on imports of aluminum and steel. That triggered threats of further tariffs on European cars from Trump.