If China and the USA can't reach an agreement on steel and aluminum trade, after a public consultation period which ends March 31, Beijing could begin collecting tariffs of 15 percent on imports worth $977 million, including fresh fruit, nuts, wines, denatured alcohol, ginseng, and seamless steel tubes.
China announced a $3 billion list of US goods for possible retaliation in a tariff dispute with President Donald Trump and girded today for a bigger battle over technology policy as financial markets sank on fears of global disruption.
Several U.S. chief executives attending a high-profile forum in Beijing, including BlackRock Inc.'s Larry Fink and Apple Inc.'s Tim Cook, urged restraint amid the intensifying trade spat.
China will also pursue legal action against the U.S. at the World Trade Organisation in response to the U.S. planned tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, the statement said, and called for dialog to resolve the dispute.
Mr Trump has lifted tariffs on aluminium and steel imports to protect USA producers, although Australia and other close allies have won a reprieve. It also occurs through legal channels, such as when US companies are forced to form a joint venture with a Chinese business. "We are confident and capable of dealing with any challenges".
"China has the ability to inflict significant economic harm on United States exporters of certain goods and can also use other overt as well as covert actions such as supply chain disruptions to hurt USA manufacturers".
"From China's perspective, it absolutely does not want to see a trade war".
"We're doing something that will be the start of making trade with China more fair", Trump said.
"The U.S. has unsheathed its sword after an extended period of saber rattling, and the Chinese are now unsheathing their weapons".
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Trump said he views the Chinese as "a friend", and both sides are in the midst of negotiations.
He added: "But I think, given Mr. Trump's instincts and his very keen desire to deliver a political win whatever the political fallout might be, I don't think it can be tamped down now".
Beijing unveiled a hit list of products that could face duties of up to 25 percent, from fresh fruit to pork and wine, though it stopped short of pulling the trigger as it indicated its readiness to negotiate an agreement.
In applying the steel and aluminum tariffs, Trump's main concern is that China has for years overproduced steel and aluminum, depressing prices globally and causing job losses in other countries, like the USA but also in Europe.
In a ramping up of his America First ethos, Trump Thursday said he had ordered tariffs on $50 billion of Chinese imports as recompense for alleged intellectual property abuses. "This includes working closely with our worldwide partners to identify unfair trade barriers and practices that China must remove, setting deadlines for such reforms and outlining actions that the USA will take if those reforms are not undertaken", it said.
Stock markets fell sharply on Trump's announcement, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average falling almost 3 per cent. He noted Beijing began a probe of USA sorghum in February after Trump announced the steel and aluminum tariffs.
Earlier on Thursday, U.S. President Donald Trump signed a memorandum that could impose tariffs on up to 60 billion U.S. dollars worth of imports from China, the latest unilateral move that poses a threat to global trade.
As the following graphic shows, the frequency of Trump's tweets touting the stock market upswing increased towards the second half of 2017 as the S&P 500, a broad index of US stock prices, hit a series of record highs. The US trade deficit with China stood at $375 billion in 2017. "They have offered concessions", said Mary Lovely, a Syracuse University economist and senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics.
"We are interested in creating some motivation for China to actually take concrete actions to further open their markets to United States exports", the official said on condition of anonymity, adding that the two sides are constantly talking.
China is unlikely to respond until Washington acts but might launch an investigation of imports of US corn and soybeans "as a warning shot", said Parker. It held $1.17 trillion in Treasuries as of January, or about 19 percent of all foreign holdings of USA government securities.