China's Ministry of Commerce on Friday accused the USA of "launching the biggest trade war in economic history" in a statement (link in Chinese).
USA officials and business owners have warned Trump that the tariffs will be a major hit to American companies.
Chinese exporters of tools, lighting and appliances say USA orders have shrunk as customers wait to see what will happen to prices.
After months of threats from President Donald Trump, at 12:01 a.m. Friday a trade war between the world's two largest economies began in earnest.
But it remained to be seen whether the American president would carry out recent threats to respond to any Chinese retaliation with maximum pressure - raising U.S. duties on Chinese goods in increments of $200 billion until virtually all the goods America buys from its largest trading partner are subject to duties.
The US is "opening fire" on the world with its threatened tariffs, China said yesterday, adding that it would respond the instant US measures go into effect as Beijing ramped up the rhetoric in a bitter trade dispute.
But Trump has said his administration will respond to retaliation from Beijing with much bigger waves of tariffs, raising the prospect of worsening tit-for-tat reprisals.
The first round of these tariffs were due to take affect at 4pm NZT.
US President Donald Trump told reporters on Thursday that US tariffs on an additional $16bn in Chinese goods are set to take effect in two weeks. Trump said. "So we have 50 plus 200 plus nearly 300".
It's also bigger than the $505 billion of goods that the United States imported from China a year ago.
USA officials accuse China of building that country's emerging industrial dominance by stealing the "crown jewels" of American technological know-how through cyber-theft, forced transfers of intellectual property, state-sponsored corporate acquisitions and other underhand practices.
China's response to the list includes Soybeans - a massive moneymaker for USA farmers - Sorghum and Cotton.
Ahead of the planned tariffs, China said that the "US is opening fire on the entire world, including itself".
That would bring the total of targeted Chinese goods to potentially $550 billion - more than the $506 billion in goods that China shipped to the United States a year ago.
A trade war with the United States could hit China's export machine, with recent data pointing to fatigue as credit expansion slowed and domestic demand looked to be softening. But after three rounds of negotiations between the two sides, including a Chinese pledge to significantly increase purchases of American products, Trump made a decision to go ahead with the tariffs.
In China, the yuan had been falling for several weeks as fears mounted that Beijing might resort to currency devaluation to give its exports an edge.
Wall Street gained on the back of a stronger-than-forecast employment report which helped usa stocks recover from an early bout of weakness as midday approached in NY. It equated the United States move to bullying and warned that globally it would trigger market turmoil, hamper economic recovery, and pose a "grave threat" to the security of industry and value chains.
For the time being, analysts say it's hard to see Washington or Beijing backing down in the dispute.
A member of China's central bank monetary policy committee, Ma Jun, said Friday that the first punches will have a "limited impact" on the Chinese economy.
The two giant economies appear ready to see which side can endure the most pain.
This will be affected by how high individual tariffs are, and also if they are expanded to other countries like Canada, Mexico and the European Union.
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