U.S. President Donald Trump called Chinese trade practices “vicious” on Wednesday, his latest blast at the world’s second-biggest economy as the two sides slug it out in a deepening trade war.

“China is targeting our farmers, who they know I love & respect, as a way of getting me to continue allowing them to take advantage of the U.S.,” Mr. Trump said on Twitter. “They are being vicious in what will be their failed attempt. We were being nice — until now! China made $517 Billion on us last year.”

Tit-for-tat tariffs

The U.S. earlier this month imposed 25% tariffs on $34 billion worth of Chinese products, drawing a tit-for-tat response from Beijing which targeted politically sensitive U.S. agricultural products. Washington has since threatened tariffs on another $200 billion in Chinese exports, then upped that to $500 billion, prompting Beijing to vow further retaliation.

Mr. Trump has also accused Beijing of manipulating its yuan currency to give its exporters an edge, a charge rejected by China.

On another front, Mr. Trump’s administration has hit even its close allies the European Union (EU), Canada and Mexico, with levies on steel and aluminium exports to the United States, prompting retaliation against iconic U.S. products, including bourbon whiskey and orange juice.

Mr. Trump’s latest tweets came a day after his administration’s first acknowledgement that the aggressive trade actions are causing domestic pain, with the announcement of $12 billion in aid for farmers who have been the primary targets of Chinese retaliation.

‘No winner in trade war’

Meanwhile, China’s President Xi Jinping on Wednesday said that there would be “no winner” in any global trade war, in a direct warning to Mr. Trump.

“A trade war should be rejected because there will be no winner,” Mr. Xi said at the opening of a BRICS summit of emerging economies in Johannesburg.

“Unilateralism and protectionism are mounting, dealing a severe blow to multilateralism and the multilateral trading regime,” he said, without mentioning the United States by name.

Leaders of the BRICS emerging economies — Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa — are holding an annual three-day summit, with attention focused on the threat of a U.S.-led global trade war.

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