President Donald Trump and his administration have repeatedly called on China to stop unfair trading practices, stop technology and intellectual property theft, and for a decrease in the USA trade deficit with the China.
Beijing warned on Friday that it was prepared to impose new tariffs on $60 billion worth of USA goods if Washington ups the ante in the escalating U.S.
The dispute is part of broader USA complaints about global trading conditions that have prompted Trump to raise duties on steel, aluminum, washing machines or solar panels from Canada, Europe, Japan and South Korea. "It makes it very hard", said Michael Cohen, head of energy markets research at Barclays. The amount could be even larger if the United States resolves a logistics bottleneck.
The yuan has also declined recently, threatening to take some of the bite out of tariffs by making imports cheaper, though the central bank took measures on Friday to stop it from falling any farther. China is the world's biggest crude oil importer. After earlier action against $34 billion of US goods, that left about $120 billion for retaliation.
The Republican president has been keen to show he is tough on trade ahead of tricky congressional elections in November, joking at a rally in Pennsylvania on Thursday: "China is not happy with me".
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China's biggest US imports by value in 2017 were aircraft and related equipment, soybeans and autos.
The Chinese government has said that it will make a final decision on if, when, and how these tariffs will be implemented next month.
China's imports from the United States past year totalled $153.9 billion.
In an editorial on Wednesday, the state-run China Daily called the US' move "gangsterism", and said it showed the U.S. had no qualms about squeezing as much as it could from trade partners.
A container ship was docked at a port in Qingdao, in eastern China's Shandong Province, on July 6. Sinopec, through its Unipec trading arm, is the largest buyer of US crude.
"The U.S. gas industry will be much harder hit by this as China imports only a small volume whereas U.S. suppliers see China as a major future market".
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The ministry said timing of the implementation of the new tariffs on U.S. goods would depend on the actions of the US.
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"Cheniere continues to see China as an important growth market and LNG as a "win-win" between the United States and China", said Eben Burnham-Snyder, a spokesman at Cheniere Energy Inc (LNG.A), which owns one of the two LNG export terminals now operating in the United States.
One project being developed is in Alaska, which would carry natural gas through an 800-mile (1,287 km) pipeline across the state to a terminal that would convert it to LNG to take it to China.
It also said that the date of implementation of the taxes will depend on actions taken by the USA, while adding that consultation on the basis of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit is an effective way to resolve trade differences.
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