"We can not turn a blind eye to China's mercantilist trade practices, but this action falls short of a strategy that will give the administration negotiating leverage with China while maintaining the long-term health and prosperity of the American economy", he said in a statement.
"It is a chaotic time in global trade", said Li. Beijing has retaliated with duties on the same value of U.S. imports, ranging from soybeans to cars, and has vowed to respond proportionally to any new U.S. tariffs.
The executive's comments come as concerns are growing that hefty import tariffs applied by Beijing on American goods, including soybeans, will inflate costs for farmers and potentially increase retail prices of foods, like pork, the nation's favourite meat.
The initial USA tariff list focused on Chinese industrial products in an attempt to limit the impact on American consumers. Rather than address our legitimate concerns, China has begun to retaliate against USA products. The latest list and round of tariffs comes on the heels of two other rounds of tariffs imposing 25 percent duties on $34 billion and $16 billion worth of Chinese imports.
Some U.S. business groups and lawmakers from Trump's own Republican Party were critical of the escalating tariffs.
However, in a statement this morning the Chinese ministry of commerce hit back, saying: "China is shocked by United States behaviour".
High-level talks between the world's two largest economies starting in May failed to deliver a breakthrough to head off a trade war. The US has suggested that it may ultimately impose tariffs on $500 billion worth of Chinese goods, or roughly the entire amount of US imports from China. The index had gained for the past two sessions, having enjoyed a lull from the trade war fears that lashed global markets last week.
At a forum in Beijing, a senior official accused the United States of "damaging the world economic order" and said it would "destroy" trade between the rival powers.
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"We have been very clear and detailed regarding the specific changes China should undertake".
On Wednesday, Japan's stock market benchmark fell 1.2 per cent while Hong Kong's main index lost 1.7 per cent and the Shanghai Composite index dropped 2.1 per cent.
The US Chamber of Commerce has supported Trump's domestic tax cuts and efforts to reduce regulation of businesses, but it has been critical of Trump's aggressive tariff policies. Hours later, China's Commerce Ministry said the USA tariffs were "totally unacceptable" and would force the country retaliate, without saying how.
"We can not turn a blind eye to China's mercantilist trade practices, but this action falls short of a strategy that will give the administration negotiating leverage with China while maintaining the long-term health and prosperity of the American economy".
The International Monetary Fund has warned that a full-blown trade war could undermine the broadest global upswing in years.
The White House has complained that China has used predatory practices in a relentless push to grant Chinese companies an unfair advantage in the industries of the future, including robotics, electric cars and biopharmaceuticals.
Orrin Hatch, the Republican Senate Finance Chairman, condemned the move as "reckless" and not "targeted", while USA stock index futures fell in early Asian trading.