Chinese President Xi Jinping's government has issued a list of USA goods for possible retaliation, but the Commerce Ministry said it will wait to see what Washington does.
Despite three rounds of negotiations between the two sides, including a Chinese pledge to significantly increase purchases of American products, Trump made a decision to go ahead with the tariffs.
Those caught in the initial line of fire - USA farmers facing tariffs on their exports to China, for example - are already hunkered down and fearing the worst. The yuan, which has weakened sharply against a broadly strong US dollar in recent weeks, was trading at 6.6480 per dollar as of 4:30 p.m. "American spirits exports to China have grown by nearly 1,200%, from $959,000 in 2001 to $12.8 million in 2017".
"Increased tensions in the US-China economic relationship will negatively impact ... operations in China", William Zarit, chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce in China, said in a statement Friday.
At 12:01 a.m., the USA slapped a 25 percent tax on $34 billion worth of Chinese imports.
Trump has vowed for years to tackle Chinese trade practices, accusing Beijing of stealing USA intellectual property and slammed the $375 billion US trade deficit with the country.
Oranges, the quintessential Florida product, are listed on a list of retaliatory tariffs published by the Chinese government.
Meanwhile, Russia said it would introduce extra duties on a range of products imported from the US.
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As the deadline approached with little sign of a last-minute deal, US stocks pared gains. "We think trade works for the American economy and tariffs don't".
Trade barriers being erected by major economies could jeopardize the global economic recovery and their effects are already starting to show, the World Trade Organization (WTO) said on Wednesday in a report on trade restrictions among G20 nations. "The marked increase in new trade restrictive measures among G20 economies should be of real concern to the global community", Mr. Azevedo said, adding that more restrictions had been put in place in the weeks after the period under review ended.
He said the companies could eat the cost for consumers, but that could lead to less jobs. These would hit USA energy exports, such as coal and crude oil, among other areas.
Chinese stocks have taken a beating in recent weeks, entering a bear market, as concerns about the trade-war have mingled with worries about how an ongoing debt-control campaign will feed through into the outlook for economic growth.
Of the $34 billion of Chinese goods targeted by the U.S., around 59%, or $20 billion, is produced by foreign-owned companies, including some from the U.S., Chinese Commerce Ministry spokesman Gao Feng said Thursday.
That would bring the total of targeted Chinese goods to potentially $550 billion - more than the $506 billion in goods that China actually shipped to the United States previous year.
China has sought the moral high ground during the increasingly bitter build up to the trade war by positioning itself as a champion of free trade but state media has now ramped up the rhetoric against the US President.
If enacted, the import duty would make USA oil less competitive than other crudes, likely causing a decline in Chinese purchases and forcing US oil firms to find other buyers.
"Whether it's through trade war or other means, the end goal is to make China subservient to the United States, " said He Weiwen, vice president of the Center for China and Globalization, in Beijing.
Tariffs have become Trump's preferred negotiating tool when it comes to trade, an approach that he says will give the USA leverage and force countries to change their policies. It said they would damage the global economy unless other countries stop them. Officials in Beijing reject accusations of theft and say foreign companies have no obligation to hand over technology.