First, the United States imposed a tax on Chinese steel and aluminum. Just one day later, China responded with another list targeting 106 United States products, including major USA imports such as soybeans, wheat, vehicles, and aircrafts.
The moves triggered further heavy selling in global stock markets and commodities, with USA stock futures sliding 1.5 percent, soybean futures plunging 3.7 percent and the dollar and China's yuan both hit.
But the dispute could escalate, and quickly.
The early declines followed an announcement by the Chinese government that it plans to impose tariffs of 25 percent on a list of USA goods worth $50 billion, including soybeans and aircraft. China wasted no time saying it would punch back with $50 billion in tariffs on 106 products it imports from America.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 399.81 points, or 1.66 percent, at 23,633.55. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks gained 19.51 points, or 1.3 percent, to 1,531.66.
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Zhou Ji, president of the Academy, admits: "China is now the world's largest manufacturer, but not necessarily the strongest".
But many trade analysts suggested that the Wall Street sell-off may be an overreaction.
China will struggle to replace US soybean supplies after implementing an additional 25 percent tariff on American shipments, likely inflicting severe financial pain on domestic companies, analysts and executives at feedmakers said. "It is possible for the countries to pull back from the brink". Rather than building trade barriers, the new doctrine was to create a level playing field between the US and its counterparts. "They didn't seem to overreach, and they didn't hit our big-ticket items like planes and soybeans". Rising costs for hog farmers risks increasing the price of pork, a component of China's consumer price index.
At this moment, China appears to be attacking states - and workers - that voted for Trump in the 2016 election.
As Trump said, the USA tariffs came after an investigation into the theft of U.S. intellectual property by China. "China's response is a surprise for some people", Julian Evans-Pritchard, Senior China Economist at Capital Economics, told Reuters noting that neither said had yet called for enforcement of the tariffs. If US companies are making competitive products, they will be able to sell them at a higher price because they're not being undercut.
Trump campaigned on a promise to overhaul American trade policy.
He's regularly used the $500 billion figure to describe the deficit with the Asian superpower in the past few years.
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The planned US tariffs are the result of an investigation ordered by US President Donald Trump into China's intellectual property practices.
Firstly, we should not forget that Trump gearing up for the mid-term election. But he has gradually grown more aggressive.
Jack Daniel's maker Brown-Forman Corp BFb.N slipped about 1 percent before recovering after whiskey was singled out as the only spirit on which China planned to impose more tariffs.
"Markets don't like uncertainty, and this back and forth with what the U.S. is doing with tariffs and targeting specifically Chinese products and Chinese trade relationships and policies".
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and White House economic adviser Gary Cohn.
The question now is whether China will make any concessions in talks now under way between the two sides, before the tariffs come into force.
If the dispute escalates, China can pick more vulnerable targets. China could turn to other markets to satisfy its needs if the U.S. is belligerent. That was 57 per cent of total US soybean exports. "Growth remains robust, unless we go into a bigger trade war".
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"We're kind of caught in the crossfire", he said.