China could target a broad range of U.S. businesses from agriculture to aircraft, autos, semiconductors and even services if the trade conflict with the United States escalates, the China Daily newspaper said in an editorial on Thursday.
Trade tension has been growing between the world's top two economies after U.S. President Donald Trump last Friday moved to impose up to $60 billion in tariffs on some Chinese imports, promoting warnings from Beijing it will retaliate with duties of up to $3 billion of U.S. imports even as it urged Washington to "pull back from the brink."
On Wednesday, Trump's top trade envoy said he would give China a 60-day window before tariffs on Chinese goods take effect, but added that it would take years to bring the two countries' trading relationship "to a good place."
The China Daily on Thursday quoted Chinese Premier Li Keqiang as telling a U.S. Congressional delegation this week that China was open to dialogue but "fully prepared with countermeasures".
It warned that if the conflict continued to escalate "China could consider taking reciprocal measures against U.S. imports of agricultural products besides soybeans, as well as aircraft, automobiles and semiconductors."
"And should the Trump administration further obstruct Chinese investments in the U.S., even tougher measures such as restrictions on imports of U.S. services and similar investment reviews would likely be on the table," it said.
Separately, Hong Kong's South China Morning Post reported on Thursday that U.S. and Chinese officials had been holding talks to shield American soybeans and other agricultural products from trade sanctions.