On Thursday Trump responded to Beijing's countermeasures by doubling down.
It wouldn't be the first time that traders and investors got caught out by a seeming 180-degree turn on Trump policy, but Wall Street may have to get far more selective in terms of which statements, and from whom, they listen to.
"History and reality have repeatedly proved that economic globalisation has provided a strong impetus for the development of global trade and economics", the newspaper said, adding that the USA was "one of the biggest beneficiaries" of this. "There are only losers".
China said it would counter USA protectionism "to the end, and at any cost", as a war of words over President Donald Trump's proposed tariffs on Chinese imports escalated.
The US tariffs are aimed at forcing changes to Chinese government policies created to transfer US intellectual property to Chinese companies and allow them to seize leadership in key high-technology industries of the future.
March 18: Forty-five United States trade associations representing some of the largest companies in the country urge Trump not to impose tariffs on China, warning it would be "particularly harmful" to the U.S. economy and consumers.
Futures that track stocks in the United States signaled a similarly muted drop on Friday.More news: Facebook's disappearing message saga is the act of a company in turmoil
Of course, it may not come to that.
"We're absolutely willing to negotiate", Mnuchin told CNBC.
"A (full-blown) trade war meanwhile would have a more pronounced effect". "The U.S.jobs report was somewhat overshadowed this week by the ongoing back and forth between the world's two largest economies which has threatened to disrupt the period of strong growth the global economy is seeing".
The Chinese foreign ministry issued an identical statement, which added that Beijing will continue to monitor tariff moves from the United States. "It's going to take a lot to derail this economy". American soybeans imports are cheaper than the Chinese equivalent because of more efficient processing. The tariffs were slated to take effect on April 2.
The U.S. has a $375 billion dollar trade deficit with China. It could cancel aircraft orders from Boeing.
Most U.S. equity indexes are grinding through choppy corrections after falling 10 percent or more from their record highs earlier in the year. And while leveling the playing field is a noble goal in itself, the question remains whether volatile markets and falling profits across the USA economy are a price worth paying to get there.
A boy who is waiting to greet U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at the National Museum makes a face while holding the U.S. and Chinese flags in Beijing May 4, 2012.
Zippy Duvall, president of the American Farm Bureau Federation lobbying group, warned that the dispute has "placed farmers and ranchers in a precarious position".
Three-quarters of companies recently surveyed by the American Chamber of Commerce said they feel increasingly unwelcome in China. The earlier tariff threats roiled financial markets but they had rebounded Thursday on investor hopes the US and China indicated would find a diplomatic solution. But a move to support American farmers could widen the trade dispute.
In other cases, China requires US companies to comply with localization requirements by storing sensitive data in the Chinese mainland. In his letter, the CEO said that it may be a natural reaction in a time of upheaval "to build walls", but the US needs to stay engaged with the worldwide community more than ever.