China and the United States plunged deeper into a trade war on Tuesday after Beijing added $60 billion of USA products to its import tariff list in retaliation for President Donald Trump's planned levies on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods.
"If the U.S. launches any new tariff measures, China will have to take countermeasures to firmly ensure our legitimate rights and interests", foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told reporters during a regular press briefing on Monday.
On the contrary, Trump has picked fights with each of those trading partners - from imposing tariffs on imported steel and aluminum to demanding that Mexico and China transform the North American Free Trade Agreement into a deal more favorable to the United States.
Beijing has warned that it would hit an additional $60 billion in American goods if Trump ordered more tariffs.
So far, the United States has imposed tariffs on US$50 billion worth of Chinese products to pressure Beijing to make sweeping changes to its trade, technology transfer and high-tech industrial subsidy policies.
On Tuesday, China announced a tariff hike on $60 billion of American products.
A later update threatened the semiconductor market and raised the estimated value of tariffed goods to $200 billion.
The tariffs imposed on Monday excluded 300 items from a previous list of items that were subject to tariffs, including smartphones, bike helmets, infant vehicle seats and certain chemicals.
But aside from adjusting the list of products affected by the tariffs, such as removing smart watches from the latest round, the administration has remained largely impervious to the efforts of lobbyists. So are the tariffs on $50 billion worth of Chinese goods, with the president suggesting he's prepared to tax an additional $467 billion of imports from China.
A Chinese government source, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were unauthorised to speak publicly, told the South China Morning Post that Beijing was now reviewing its plans to send a delegation led by Vice-Premier Liu He to Washington for talks with US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. A trade war begins when countries impose retaliatory tariffs on them.
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Why is the U.S.in a trade war with China? What is more, it is conceivable that China will also slap a punitive tariff on USA crude oil.
Trump is trying to bring China to the negotiation table for fairer trade policies.
He said that what the United States is doing now is "economic madness" that risks creating a vicious cycle for business that could have an impact in China and elsewhere.
The latest round of imports will face 10 per cent tariffs through the end of the year, and then the rate will jump to 25 per cent.
Mr Trump said in another tweet yesterday. These tactics include hacking USA companies to steal their trade secrets and forcing them to turn over their know-how in exchange for access to the Chinese market. "But, so far, China has been unwilling to change its practices".
But that doesn't mean China won't respond to the Trump administration's tariffs.
Forcing more favourable terms of trade on China has been a critical component of Mr. Trump's "America-first" politics.
In terms of the economy, President Trump has arguably tried to limit the damage to the U.S. by excluding some products and starting the tariff at 10%, but this will still put up costs that may well be passed onto consumers.
China isn't paying the tariffs, however - the duties are paid by importers like Ford or Walmart that either swallow the cost or pass it along to consumers.
Ahead of Trump's tariff announcement late Monday, top White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said the United States was still willing to continue its dialogue with China.