This week's round two - over Chinese appropriation of United States intellectual property - marks an exponential escalation, with each side first threatening tariffs on $50 billion of the other's exports.
Because the country exports far more in goods to the United States than it imports, China simply doesn't have as much room to keep up with escalating American tariffs, especially given the Chinese government's desire to cushion its citizens from higher prices for food staples.
"If the U.S. side disregards opposition from China and the worldwide community and insists on carrying out unilateralism and trade protectionism, the Chinese side will take them on until the end at any cost", the Commerce Ministry said in a statement.
We can't overstate our concern about what the impact will be of a USA trade war with foreign nations - in particular, with China - on agriculture states like Iowa. If the USA carries out its threat of new tariffs, "China has already made ample preparations and will respond forcefully and without hesitation", he said.
China has threatened its own tariffs on USA products like pork and soybeans. China shot back 11 hours later with a list of proposed duties on $50 billion of American imports, including soybeans, aircraft, cars, beef and chemicals.
The specter of a large-scale trade war between the world's two biggest economies - an event unprecedented in modern times - has people scrambling to anticipate the effects.
"We've already lost the trade war". The Dow fell more than 570 points, or 2.3 percent.
President Moon Jae-in said growing trade protectionism and trade conflict between the United States and China could hurt the Korean economy and he urged the country to prepare.
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"We know that there could be some fluctuation, but at the same time the president has said enough is enough", said Press Secretary Sarah Sanders. "So, we are not really anxious about this new tariff", said Bhatia.
The move is a high-stakes gamble aimed at cowing China into backing down and forcing it to make the kinds of changes that the USA is seeking - namely reducing the coercive tactics American officials say Beijing uses to try to dominate leading-edge industries.
"Under these conditions, the two sides can not conduct any negotiations on this issue", Gao said, without elaborating. So far, it has confirmed tariffs on just $6 billion worth of Chinese imports-steel, aluminum, washing machines and solar panels.
USA manufacturing giants that sell products in China, such as Apple, Boeing, Caterpillar, General Motors and Intel, are also expected to take a hit if China follows through on its threats.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin acknowledged there was a risk of trade war, but said the intention is to defend United States interests and the administration remains willing to negotiate.
The secretary tried to assure investors that Trump's willingness to fight for USA interests would be a "long-term positive" for American companies.
But top White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow reversed himself and warned that the tariff threat is not a negotiating tactic.
"Raw material prices, already on an uptrend since mid-2017, will likely be pushed up further as hoarding and speculation take place in anticipation and reaction to tariffs", he added.