China has vowed to take “necessary countermeasures” over US plans to implement a new tariff on Chinese imports, ratcheting up tensions amid a heated trade war between the world’s two biggest economies.

China’s ministry of finance on Thursday lashed out at the US for what it described as “a severe violation” of earlier agreements ahead of the implementation of a 10 per cent levy on $300bn worth of Chinese imports.

The escalation followed a tweet by US President Trump that for the first time mentioned the trade war and Chinese President Xi Jinping’s handling of protests in Hong Kong in the same breath.

“Of course China wants to make a [trade] deal. Let them work humanely with Hong Kong first!” Mr Trump tweeted.

China said the US had “seriously violated the consensus reached between the US and Chinese heads of state” at meetings in Argentina and Japan and “deviated from the correct path of resolving differences through consultation”.

“China will have to take the necessary countermeasures,” the statement added.

The Trump administration said earlier this month it would impose a 10 per cent tariff on $300bn worth of Chinese imports beginning in September. It amended that slightly this week, however, saying it would delay implementing this on some consumer items, making up roughly half of the value of goods affected, until December.

European stocks fell following the news, adding to losses on Wednesday. The Stoxx Europe 600 was down 0.7 per cent by late morning, while futures pointed to a 0.2 per cent decline on the S&P 500 when Wall Street opens.

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