After imposing one set of tariffs on China in July, the Trump administration announced another round on a further 279 items on Tuesday. China immediately made good on its promise match the US dollar for dollar.
China wasted no time with its ready reply to new US sanctions, presenting on Wednesday $16 billion (€13.7 billion) in tariffs on 333 US products including crude oil, diesel fuel, coal, steel products and medical devices.
The move was an answer to the Trump administration's Tuesday announcement that the US would impose new 25 percent tariffs on $16 billion worth of Chinese imports on top of those already in place.
Washington imposed tariffs on $34 billion of Chinese products on July 6, a move China countered with duties of its own. But the US held off on a final $16 billion as a result of concerns raised by US companies.
This tit-for-tat solidifies the view that there appears to be no effort underway to defuse the dispute between the world's two largest economies. Both sets of new tariffs are set to go into effect on August 23.
The dispute over tariffs has continued to escalate as both sides exchange threats. Last week Trump threatened to jack up the tariff rate on the next $200 billion in Chinese imports it plans to target to 25 percent, from the previously stated 10 percent.
July figures showed the US' trade deficit with China decrease only slightly.
China fired back with its own warning and said it would impose duties on $60 billion of US goods.
The office of US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said its "exhaustive" investigation showed that "China's acts, policies and practices related to technology transfer, intellectual property and innovation are unreasonable and discriminatory and burden US commerce."
Lighthizer said there were 279 new goods to be targeted in the dispute over China's policies promoting theft of American technology.
Those items include imports like motorcycles, tractors, railroad parts, electronic circuits, motors and farm equipment.
Farmers and US industries have been caught in the crossfire, and the Trump administration announced $12 billion in aid to help farmers hurt by duties on crops such as soybeans.
js,av/amp (AP, AFP)