China will ban imports from the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, its ambassador said on Wednesday, saying China would not tolerate a trade war that threatens its future as a world leader.
The move by Chinese President Xi Jinping was expected to strengthen ties between the world’s two biggest economies.
It comes as Beijing faces accusations of blocking trade in its own domestic market in the United State, a complaint denied by Washington.
A spokesman for the United Nations’ trade watchdog said it was reviewing Beijing’s move.
China has been the biggest importer of steel, iron ore and nickel in the world.
In recent years, it has been under pressure from Washington and Europe over its role in the region, and the United Kingdom, the world main exporter of liquefied natural gas.
The trade war, in which the United Sates is accused of blocking imports from Russia and Ukraine, could undermine China’s ability to make big purchases in the West, a key economic partner for the Chinese government.
In addition, the spat could hamper efforts to boost global growth.