The government announced it has prepared a list of $60 billion worth of USA goods to hit with duties should the US follow through on a plan to impose duties on an additional $200 billion of Chinese goods, as early as next month.
The Ministry of Finance said in a statement that the retaliatory measures were in response to the latest USA threat on July 11 to slap duties on United States dollars 200 billion worth of Chinese products, and to raise those tariffs from 10 to 25 per cent. That particular set of tariffs has not yet taken effect. America's differences with China, a one-party state that has promised to open its markets gradually, run deep.
Since January of this year, the total equities in China's stock market have tumbled by over $2 trillion, and most of the loss is due to the intensifying trade and tariff disputes with the US started by President Donald Trump.
Full lists of USA products subject to different levels of additional tariffs are available on the website of the Ministry of Finance.
"China thinks that negotiations based on mutual respect and mutual benefit are the efficient way to solve trade conflicts", the ministry said in a statement. "Any unilateral threat or blackmail will only lead to intensification of conflicts and damage to the interests of all parties".
"China's countermeasures with differentiated tariff rates are rational and restrained, and were proposed after extensively soliciting opinions and careful evaluation".
Washington imposed 25 percent duties on $34 billion of Chinese goods on July 6. The inquiry found that Chinese theft of USA intellectual property was costing the US economy billions of dollars. Those tariffs could be imposed in place of 10 percent tariffs already under discussion. He then threatened hundreds of billion in tariffs on world auto parts imports, targeting Europe.
What exists in fact is just a couple billion dollars of actual tariffs on steel and aluminum imposed by the USA on Europe and a similar amount of token tariffs implemented by Europe on select U.S. imports to Europe. China immediately vowed to retaliate though at the same time urged the U.S.to act rationally and return to talks to resolve the dispute.
The White House issued a statement Friday, condemning the proposal.
"The money comes after farmers, especially soybean growers, have felt the brunt of retaliatory tariffs placed on agriculture by China and other nations that the Trump administration has penalized with tariffs on imports", NPR's Brian Naylor reported.
The United States alleges that China steals US corporate secrets and wants it to stop doing so, and is also seeking to get Beijing to abandon plans to boost its high-tech industries at America's expense.
"We do have significant exports to China, especially in mechanical machinery and electrical machinery", said Mousa Kassis, director of the Export Assistance Network at Youngstown State University. Investment is down. Consumption is down. The decrease came on the back of strong export growth, which was up 4.1% from the month before.
Beijing's earlier round of tariffs appeared created to minimize the impact on the Chinese economy by targeting soybeans, whiskey and other goods available from Brazil, Australia and other suppliers.
"China, which is for the first time doing poorly against us, is spending a fortune on ads and PR (public relations) trying to convince and scare our politicians to fight me on tariffs - because they are really hurting their economy", he wrote.
United States agricultural producers in particular are feeling the sting of the trade war. China is the world's second-largest importer of LNG and the third largest market for US LNG exports, with expectation that it will be the most significant source of additional demand in the future.