In Beijing, the State Council's Customs Tariff Commission said on Friday it will impose a 25 percent tariff on 659 categories of USA goods valued at $50 billion. "A trade war never benefits anyone, so rather than pursuing a piecemeal tariffs approach, now is the time to seize the opportunity before us and work toward a U.S. - China trade agreement that will benefit American workers for generations to come".
Trump kicked off the action in March with the announcement that the U.S. would impose tariffs on Chinese goods as punishment for the theft of USA intellectual property by China. At the daily briefing here, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said, "If the USA side adopts unilateralism and protectionism and damages China's interests, we will respond in the first instance and take necessary measures to firmly safeguard our legitimate rights and interests".
"Imposing tariffs places the cost of China's unfair trade practices squarely on the shoulders of American consumers, manufacturers, farmers, and ranchers", said Thomas Donohue, president of the US Chamber of Commerce.
The U.S. tariffs are in addition to previously announced duties on imports of steel and aluminum from several countries, including China.
An initial list of 545 categories of items valued at $34 billion will be subject to tariffs starting July 6th-the same day the USA says it will impose tariffs.
On Friday, the White House confirmed it will impose a 25% tariff on $34 billion worth of Chinese goods. Soybeans are the state's biggest export, and China is the state's biggest global soybean market.
The tariffs cover 1,102 separate product categories, according to a list from the US Trade Representatives Office.
Any U.S. business that buys products from China that are covered by the new tariffs will face a tax on those products.
The second wave of products has been cued up as Washington prepares to announce on Friday a list of about $50 billion of goods to be targeted.
If China retaliates, as it has already pledged to do, the U.S. will impose even more tariffs, Mr Trump warned.
Experts have largely agreed that Trump's tariffs will do little to slow China's advancing industrial complex.
"Trade between our nations, however, has been very unfair, for a very long time".
Another Democrat, Sen. Sherrod Brown of OH, tweeted that the tariffs are an important step to reset the trade imbalance with China. That's why Trump thinks the US trade deficit is so large.
The official said the Chinese action was taken in response to the emergent circumstances caused by the US violations of global obligations.
USA farmers are especially concerned about the impact of a trade war, since they are sure to feel the hit.
So far, companies with business in China have mostly kept low profiles, hoping the United States and China would strike a deal, according to Samm Sacks, a senior fellow in the Technology Policy Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
The Chinese government already promised that such retaliation is imminent.
"We have taken essentially a defensive action", a senior USA official told reporters, adding that "further threats that are going to hurt other industries.would be a mistake".
The productivity and robust sales of American agricultural products leave them in the cross hairs of anyone trying to gain leverage against the U.S.