Ministry spokesman Gao Feng told a regular news conference: “If the United States, regardless of opposition, adopts any new tariff measures, China will be forced to roll out necessary retaliatory measures.”

Global markets had been on edge after US President Donald Trump had threatened fresh tariffs on another $200bn in Chinese imports.

Gao further stated that China will closely monitor the impact from any fresh tariffs and will adopt strong measures to help Chinese or foreign firms operating in China to overcome difficulties.

The Trump administration is ready to move ahead with a next round of tariffs after a public comment period ends at midnight in Washington on Thursday– but the timing remains unclear, people familiar with the administration’s plan stated to Reuters.

The new duties will start to hit consumer products directly, including furniture, lighting products, tires, bicycles and car seats for babies. China and the United States have already slapped opposing tariffs on $50 bn of each other’s goods, giving financial markets a great scare in recent months as investors and policy makers worried the bitter trade war can derail global growth.

Trump has demanded that Beijing improve market access and intellectual property protection for US companies, cut industrial subsidies and slash a $375bn trade gap.

Markets fear that any fresh US duties on Chinese imports will mark a major escalation in the trade dispute between the world’s two biggest economic giants—and the spillover from that will potentially cause significant drag on global business investment, trade and growth.

In August, China unveiled a proposed list of retaliatory tariffs on $60bn of US goods ranging from liquefied natural gas to certain types of aircraft, in response to the US sanctions.

Trump stated on Wednesday that the United States was not yet ready to come to an agreement over trade disputes with China but he said talks would keep on going.