US President Donald Trump has said he may ultimately impose tariffs on more than $500 billion worth of Chinese goods - roughly the total amount of US imports from China previous year. "To protect the core interests of the nation and its people, the Chinese government will be forced to impose necessary countermeasures".
"This act is typical trade bullying", a spokesperson for China's Ministry of Commerce said in a statement. These tactics include the outright theft of trade secrets, government subsidies to homegrown tech firms and demands that US and other foreign companies hand over technology if they want access to China's vast market.
European Union Chamber of Commerce in China President Mats Harborn on Tuesday called Trump's tariffs the "sledgehammer approach", but said the root cause of what China has termed the "largest-scale trade war" in economic history began in China.
This most recent maneuver follows a threat President Trump made last month, and comes days after the US and China imposed tit-for-tat tariffs on more than $30 billion in goods. China announced a $3 billion list of us goods including pork, apples and steel pipe on Friday that it said may be hit with higher tariffs.
FILE - Imported nuts from the United States are displayed at a supermarket in Beijing, March 23, 2018.
If China responds with tariffs on energy, this could cut sales of US energy goods, analysts and executives told Reuters last month, when Beijing first threatened to slap tariffs on usa energy.
President Donald Trump has threatened higher tariffs on more than $500 billion of goods, or almost all of China's annual exports to the United States.
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, responded to Lighthizer's announcement with dismay.
The move would be the latest in the escalating trade skirmish between the world's two biggest economies.
The country has informed the WTO it plans to impose retaliatory measures on United States goods to the tune of 50 billion yen (395 million euros, $455 million), after failing to persuade Washington to exempt it from the tariffs.
The new round of tariffs targets more than 6000 trade lines including a wide range of low-end manufactured products from handbags, textiles, tires, leather goods, ski gloves to refrigerators to TVs.
"The Chinese side is shocked by the actions of the United States", it said in a statement, according to a translation by Google.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng index fell 1.3 percent, with the China Enterprises index giving up 1.5 percent. The list includes over 6,000 goods, including fish, electronics, propane, toilet paper, and more.
According to its detailed notice on the process to come, USTR aims to conduct hearings in late August, which means that the earliest possible implementation date for the additional $200 billion in tariffs can be in September.
"It is now much more likely that the dispute will continue for a prolonged period of time and that we will see ratcheting up of protectionist measures", said Elena Duggar, an associate managing director at Moody's, the credit rating agency.
The spiraling conflict stems from Washington's complaint that Beijing steals or pressures companies to hand over technology and concerns that plans for state-led development of Chinese champions in robots and other fields might erode American industrial leadership.
This creates what at first seems to be a problem for China: Beijing may soon run out of American goods to tax.
They also said they remain open to working with China to try to resolve the dispute, but the response from Beijing so far has been unsatisfactory.