The Trump administration raised the stakes in the growing trade dispute, threatening 10 percent tariffs on a list of $200 billion worth of Chinese imports, sending stocks lower and prompting Beijing to warn it would be forced to respond.
Although it was not a direct reaction to the new move from Trump's administration, the official English-language newspaper China Daily said in an editorial that Beijing had to stand up to Washington. It's unclear what that action could include.
President Donald Trump vowed to hit back on a growing list of products after China retaliated in kind for the first round of 25 percent tariffs on $34 billion worth of imports that Washington imposed last week. However, because China exports more to the USA than it imports there are limits on the amount of tariffs Beijing can impose on American goods.
Beijing gave no details of the possible retaliation but earlier it threatened "comprehensive measures".
The tariffs initiated by U.S. President Donald Trump have also drawn criticism from lawmakers in his own Republican Party, as well as from U.S. trade groups anxious about higher costs for businesses and consumers.
"The Chinese government as always will have no choice but to take the necessary countermeasures", said China's ministry of commerce in a statement, without elaborating further.
"The latest list of $200 billion of products to be subject to tariffs against China doubles down on a reckless strategy that will boomerang back to harm USA families and workers".
In financial markets, MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan fell 1.5 per cent, while the main indexes in Hong Kong and Shanghai fell more than 2 per cent.
4% of GDP: Trump pushes North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies to double military spending
He told fellow leaders he would prefer a 4 percent target, closer to the 3.6 percent of GDP the United States spends on defense. Singling out Germany isn't necessarily fair, said defense analyst Sophia Besch of the Center for European Reform.
Stocks began to be traded lower today as a trade war between the USA and the other major economies became a reality after President Donald Trump unveiled new tariffs on Chinese goods.
The US Chamber of Commerce, which has supported Trump's tax cuts and efforts to reduce regulation of businesses, also criticised the administration's move.
The officials said they tried to target goods that would reduce the harm to US consumers.
The United States is playing a unsafe game as China is one of the United States' most important trading partners, with about $630 billion (-$130 deficit) in trade done in 2017, not far behind Canada ($670 billion, +$8 billion surplus) and just ahead of Mexico ($616 billion, -$64 billion deficit).
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch, a senior member of Trump's Republican Party, said the announcement "appears reckless and is not a targeted approach".
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.
Jack Gerard, Cal Dooley, and Edward R. Hamberger-the president and CEO of the American Petroleum Institute, president and CEO of the American Chemistry Council, and president and CEO of the Association of American Railroads, respectively-wrote in an opinion piece in the Washington Examiner published on Wednesday that the trade war is threatening the US economy and could add "hundreds of billions of dollars in potential costs for American businesses - costs that could ultimately be borne by consumers".
"Tariffs are taxes, plain and simple". During a visit to Germany this week by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, the countries signed business deals worth more than $23 billion.
"We have been very clear and detailed regarding the specific changes China should undertake".