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China said on Thursday that trade issues with the United States can only be resolved through talks as equals, and it will press on with the steady opening of its economy regardless of U.S. actions.

“The only correct choice in resolving trade friction between China and the U.S. is through talks based on sincerity and equality,” Commerce Ministry spokesman Gao Feng told reporters at a regular briefing.

“Whatever repressive measures the U.S. adopts, China will firmly and steadily push forward reform and opening at its own pace.”

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Some Chinese firms and foreign companies in China have been affected by the U.S. tariffs and are working to mitigate the impact, Gao said, without elaborating.

“We are confident that foreign trade will maintain steady momentum... and will roll out targeted policies to safeguard the legitimate rights of all firms in China, including foreign-invested firms,” said Gao.

China’s manufacturing sector is under pressure from higher borrowing costs, cooling investment and consumer spending, and a potential shock to exports as a result of the trade frictions with the United States.

A Reuters poll showed on Thursday that activity in the vast factory sector likely slowed for a third straight month in August, as domestic demand remained weak and exporters faced rising uncertainties from the brewing U.S.-China trade war.

The head of China’s top planning agency also warned that the economy faces increasing risks in the second half of the year and policymakers need to step up efforts to meet key development goals.

In the meantime, U.S. economic growth was a bit stronger than initially thought in the second quarter, notching its best performance in nearly four years.

However, U.S. goods trade deficit widened sharply in July as exports of agricultural products tumbled, indicating trade could be a drag on growth in the third quarter.

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