China’s Vice Premier Liu he spoke by phone with US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin today and “agreed to continue to communicate” on trade issues.

The call came at a time of heightened tensions after US President Donald Trump on Thursday authorised tariffs on as much as $60 billion of Chinese imports.

On the phone, LIU he accused a US investigation of violating international trade rules and told Mnuchin that Beijing was ready to defend its interests.

China warned the US yesterday that it was “not afraid of a trade war” as it threatened tariffs on $3 billion worth of US goods in retaliation to Trump’s new measures.

It unveiled a hit list of products that could face duties of up to 25 percent, though it stopped short of pulling the trigger as it indicated its readiness to negotiate an agreement.