China to Trump: We don’t want a trade war -- but if there is one, you’d lose

“Recently I came across an article from an authoritative international think tank. It says that should a trade war break out between China and the United States, it would be foreign-invested companies, in particular U.S. firms, that would bear the brunt of it,” he said.

“We don’t want to see any trade war breaking out between the two countries. That wouldn’t make our trade fairer,” he added.

But while it’s true that a trade war would a disproportionate effect on American firms like Apple which outsource manufacturing to China, economist Christopher Balding said it wasn’t really accurate to say that the U.S. economy as a whole is more vulnerable.

“China is much more dependent on trade with the U.S. as a percentage of GDP, and received most of its trade surplus from the U.S.,” said Balding, an ­associate professor at the HSBC Business School in Shenzhen, adding that it would be easier for U.S. firms to move their supply chain than for China to change its industrial structure.