The Chinese government on Friday revealed plans to levy duties of 25, 20, 10 and five per cent on American products worth up to 60 billion dollars, unless Washington withholds its sanctions on up to 200 billion dollars worth of Chinese goods.
The question is what other tools the two countries may use, once they have no more goods upon which to impose tariffs.
"I sense that we're seeing a hardening of attitudes on both sides", said Jacob Parker, vice president of China relations at the U.S. China Business Council.
President Donald Trump in June asked U.S. Trade Representative Robert E. Lighthizer to draft a plan for a 10 percent tariff on $200 billion in Chinese imports. U.S. manufacturers are considering expanding outside the country to avoid the widening trade conflict, according to the Institute for Supply Management's July survey. That's a negligible amount for China, which imported 17 million tons total previous year, according to the US Census Bureau.
State-controlled Chinese news outlets have frequently criticized the United States and the Trump administration even as the trade friction between the two countries escalated. Another $16 billion in levies will likely follow in the coming days or weeks.
China's official newspaper on Monday accused the US President of acting like a street fighter by imposing import tariffs and said Beijing would not surrender to his "extortion".
Most major United States crops were already hit by previously announced Chinese duties, so the fresh duties announced Friday on about $60 billion worth of American goods is leaving the farm largely unscathed.More news: Salon workers recorded hitting customer with broom after botched wax
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President Donald Trump is losing his trade wars - at least according to his favourite measure of success.
Based on rational and thorough research and consultation, China's latest move takes into full consideration the interests of Chinese people and companies, and is expected to defend the multilateral trading system and global industrial chain, according to Chinese authorities and analysts.
Mr Trump continued his focus on tariffs on Sunday morning, tweeting that the duties are working "big time" and that imported goods should be taxed or made in the US. The worsening of the tension comes amid a slowing of China's economy, declines in the currency and a bear market in stocks. US business and farm groups, which do extensive business with China, have complained for months about Trump's strategy, but there are no signs that the Chinese government is paying for a campaign in the United States.
"We are using them to negotiate fair trade deals and, if countries are still unwilling to negotiate, they will pay us vast sums of money in the form of Tariffs", he wrote.
Timing will depend on the actions of the United States, the Chinese Commerce Ministry said in a separate statement. China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi said China has contributed a huge amount to global economic growth.
Answering a reporter's question about what was specifically said on trade, Wang said: "We did not speak in such details". Rather, the US importers bringing the products into the United States pay the tariffs.
"Tariffs will make our country much richer than it is today", Trump said in another tweet.