Another day, another tariff threat. This time it is China promising to levy imports, following on from the latest US round of proposed duties. The news came alongside bad economic news from a Chinese perspective.
Earlier this week, the Trump administration proposed tariff rates of 25 percent, rather than the previously touted 10 percent, on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods — the latest round in the ongoing trade conflict between the countries.
While it remains to be seen if and when those tariffs come into effect, China says it will respond with the additional $60 billion of tariffs if the US follows through on its latest trade threat.
"The US side has repeatedly escalated the situation against the interests of both enterprises and consumers," a statement from the Chinese Commerce Ministry said.
"China has to take necessary countermeasures to defend its dignity and the interests of its people, free trade and the multilateral system."
If the latest threats are followed through, it will mean China will have slapped tariffs on $110 billion worth of US goods, accounting for almost everything it imports from the US. In 2017, China imported around $130 billion of US goods.
The notional Chinese tariffs announced on Friday would range from 5 percent to 25 percent in value, and would affect a wide range of goods from gas to aircraft-related products, textiles to condoms.
White House economic advisor Larry Kudlow responded to China's proposed countermeasure on Friday, saying the threat was "weak" and was a reflection of the damage Trump's policies are doing to the Chinese economy.
Whilst emphasising his view that the Chinese economy was "in trouble" because on Trump's policies, Ludlow did acknowledge that the Chinese could yet choose to take some kind of action against US companies operating in China.
Given the scale of the trade imbalance between the two countries, China cannot match the volume of US tariffs against its imports.
However, analysts have said that China will be able to muddle through the ongoing conflict by expanding stimulus programs, fiscal spending and bank lending, while the US can handle things by looking to third-party nations.
"The US and China have backup plans in areas like technology and agriculture, where they can look towards importing from third-party nations," Ye Tan, an independent Chinese economic analyst, told AFP.