On Tuesday, the Trump administration announced tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese goods, just one week after imposing a 25 percent tariff on $34 billion worth of items.
The office will accept public comments and hold hearings on the plan between August 20 and 23 before reaching a decision after August 31, according to a senior administration official who briefed reporters on condition of anonymity. That prompted fears Beijing might go beyond matching USA import tax increases by harassing American companies in China.
Last week, Washington imposed 25% tariffs on $34 billion of Chinese imports, and Beijing responded immediately with matching tariffs on the same amount of U.S. exports to China.
President Donald Trump has threatened to tax as much as $US550 billion in Chinese products - an amount that exceeds America's total imports from China previous year.
A Chinese Commerce Ministry statement, issued Wednesday following the Trump administration announcement, said China was "shocked" at the US plans to levy the 10% tariffs.
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On Tuesday, U.S. officials issued a list of thousands of Chinese imports the Trump administration wants to hit with the new tariffs, including hundreds of food products as well as tobacco, chemicals, coal, steel and aluminum, prompting criticism from some U.S. industry groups. By expanding the list, the administration is beginning to hit products that USA households buy, including such things as electric lamps and fish sticks.
Investors fear an escalating trade war between the world's two biggest economies could hit global growth.
The $200 billion far exceeds the total value of goods China imports from the United States, which means Beijing may need to think of creative ways to respond to such USA measures. China imported United States goods worth $130 billion previous year and Friday's tariff hike hit $34 billion of that, with another $16 billion cited for a possible increase.
Instead, its heavily regulated economy gives Beijing tools to disrupt operations for American automakers, restaurant chains and other companies that are looking to China to drive revenue growth.
The economic impact of the conflict already is spreading.
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The administration said the new levies were a response to China's decision to retaliate against the first round of United States tariffs.
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch said the announcement "appears reckless and is not a targeted approach".
In financial markets, MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan fell 1.5%, while the main indexes in Hong Kong and Shanghai fell more than 2%.
The conflict is "far from over", Hannah Anderson of JP Morgan Asset Management warned in a report, "and the impact will be global".
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