But the USA action drew a swift reaction from the plastics and petrochemical industries, with the head of the Plastics Industry Association saying the tariffs would "boomerang" and hurt manufacturing.
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". Since then, the president has said his administration could impose duties on virtually all Chinese imports into the U.S.
"Trade experts we have consulted point to the potential for anti-U.S. social media campaigns, delays or blockage of regulatory approvals, travel bans, investment restrictions, among other options", Raymond James analyst Ed Mills said in a report. That prompted fears Beijing, running out of imports for retaliation due to its lopsided trade balance with the US, might try to disrupt operations of American automakers, retailers and others that see China as a key market. The Trump administration on Tuesday released a proposed list of an additional $200 billion in Chinese goods to be hit with tariffs.
More than 6,000 items could be affected - including burglar alarms, vehicle tyres, handbags, baseball gloves, carpets, toilet paper, dog food, and hundreds of food products.
"The outburst of large-scale mutual levying of tariffs between China and the United States will inevitably destroy Sino-US trade", assistant minister of commerce Li Chenggang told a forum in Beijing on Wednesday. It has said it will launch an appeal through the World Trade Organisation against the "US side's unilateralist actions". Both governments have raised tariffs on $34 billion worth of each other's goods and already said they are considering additional charges on another $16 billion. The prospect of an global trade war has sent jitters through world markets.
On Wednesday, China's main stock index lost 1.8 percent and Japan's market benchmark fell 1.1 percent.
At mid-morning, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 0.58 percent, the S&P 500 was down 0.42 percent, and the Nasdaq was off 0.29 percent.
Chinese retaliation: China has threatened to retaliate dollar-for-dollar if the Trump administration imposes a new round of tariffs. "The steel tariffs alone could increase the cost of a 280-mile pipeline by as much as $76 million", Gerard, Dooley, and Hamberger said.
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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 have never been tested this way", a U.S. industry source told Reuters, asking to not be named given the sensitivity of the matter.
Mr Trump has threatened to tax $550bn (£415bn) in Chinese products - exceeding America's total imports from China previous year. "Imposing taxes on another $200 billion worth of products will raise the costs of every day goods for American families", a Chamber spokeswoman said. China has repeatedly denied accusations by the Trump administration of unfair trade policies. "It is imperative that we maintain the robust market we have worked so hard for decades to establish with China".
If the Chinese want to keep up the tit-for-tat strategy, they'll have to come up with other ways of inflicting economic pain.
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.
The "biggest trade war ever in economic history" between China and the United States officially started on July 6.
In fact, this is part of the White House's justification for the trade war: China essentially forces foreign companies to hand over trade secrets and intellectual property to Chinese state-run enterprises as the price for doing business there.
"China stands in line with the worldwide community on the correct side of history to together protect the rules of the multilateral trade order", foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua said on Wednesday.
This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.