China is drawing up options for hitting back at the US if Washington imposes trade penalties for alleged intellectual property theft, but so far Beijing wants to avoid escalation mindful of the pain it could cause its own consumers.
When China’s commerce ministry earlier this week announced an anti-dumping investigation of US exports of sorghum, an animal feed, analysts said it reflected Beijing’s desire to continue to contain bilateral trade disputes to relatively narrow sectors.
“China has lots of cards to play but is in no rush to play them,” said Xu Hongcai at the China Center for International Economic Exchanges, a government-affiliated think-tank in Beijing. “For now there is small-scale trade friction, not a trade war. Our moves have always been defensive. We will not escalate the situation.”