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BEIJING (Reuters) - China is well prepared and will not hesitate to fight back if the United States escalates its trade spat with Beijing, the commerce ministry said on Thursday, adding Chinese President Xi Jinping’s pledge to cut import tariffs is not a concession.

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Shipping containers are seen at the port in Shanghai, China April 10, 2018. REUTERS/Aly Song

Xi on Tuesday vowed to open the country’s economy further and lower import tariffs on products like cars. U.S. President Donald Trump responded in a tweet saying he was “thankful” for Xi’s kind words on tariffs and access for U.S. automakers, as well as his “enlightenment” on the issue of intellectual property.

It would be misleading to say Xi’s pledge at the Boao Forum this week - Asia’ version of Davos - was a concession to the United States, commerce ministry spokesman Gao Feng said at a regular press briefing in Beijing.

Xi was merely outlining China’s strategy to open up further, which had nothing to do with its trade friction with the United States, Gao said.

Reporting by Vincent Lee and Yawen Chen; Writing by Ryan Woo; Editing by Shri Navaratnam

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