The United States is already working on a second wave of tariffs on Chinese goods worth $16 billion.
Among other things, the U.S.is asking China to roll back its "Made-in-China 2025" program, a signature Xi initiative to dominate several strategic industries, such as semiconductors to aerospace development. The tariffs announced Tuesday would be the third wave.
The US administration late on Tuesday released a huge list of new products that tariffs on $US200 billion worth of goods from China will be levied against. The Trump administration has so far rejected Chinese offers to trim its massive trade surplus by buying more American goods, and is demanding more systemic change.
In Beijing, Li Chenggang, assistant minister at China's Commerce Ministry, said at a forum in Beijing that the latest USA proposals interfered with the globalisation of the world economy and that China's support for a multilateral trade system would not change.
China hit back with its own levies - targeting United States products such as mixed nuts and whiskey.
Some U.S. business groups and lawmakers from Trump's own Republican Party were critical of the escalating tariffs.
The International Monetary Fund has warned that a full-blown trade war could undermine the broadest global upswing in years. "China cheats, and manufacturers want to see China held accountable".
'Given China's likelihood of retaliation, it's also billions worth of new tariffs on American exporters'.
In an April Twitter post, Trump said this allowed China to "get tremendous perks and advantages, especially over the US".
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China slammed the US threat to expand tariff hikes to imports including apples, fish sticks and French doors as a "totally unacceptable" escalation of their trade battle on Wednesday and vowed to protect its "core interests". President Donald Trump has threatened higher tariffs on more than US$500 billion of goods, or almost all of China's annual exports to the United States.
China "cannot match fresh US tariffs", Vishnu Varathan of Mizuho Bank said in a report.
"As a result of China's retaliation and failure to change its practices, the President has ordered USTR to begin the process of imposing tariffs of 10 percent on an additional $200 billion of Chinese imports".
"We will remain vigilant in defending the ability of our workers and businesses to compete on a fair and reciprocal basis", he said.
"For over a year, the Trump Administration has patiently urged China to stop its unfair practices, open its market, and engage in true market competition", Lighthizer said.
For plastics, the list includes more than 100 specific categories, including flexible tube, pipe and hose, and various PVC and other plastic tiles, flooring and furniture.
Instead of giving in, however, China hit back with dollar-for-dollar retaliatory tariffs on US products.
Lighthizer's office will hear public comments on the plan and will reach a decision after August 31, according to a senior administration official who briefed reporters on condition of anonymity.
While the tariffs wouldn't go into effect for at least two months, they would be much more aggressive in the range of goods they'd apply to.