China’s Commerce Ministry on Thursday criticized US President Donald Trump’s latest announcement to restrict Chinese investment in tech companies in the US in order to combat intellectual property theft.

“We are going to evaluate its potential impact on Chinese companies,” Commerce Ministry spokesperson Gao Feng said at a press conference and stressed that the authorities were closely monitoring Washington’s decisions.

He also warned that these restrictions on Chinese investments were “counterproductive”, adding that China was ready to use “the necessary measures to forcefully defend the interests of its people”, Efe news reported.

On Wednesday, Trump announced a plan to restrict Chinese investments in US tech companies to fight against investment practices that threaten US critical technology leadership, national security and future economic prosperity.

The mounting tension in recent months between Beijing and Washington has triggered fears of a trade war between the two economic powers, in the wake of the imposition of tariffs by both countries.