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The opening shots of a trade war were fired when the Trump administration imposed a 25 percent tariff on $34 billion of imports from China, and Beijing promptly retaliated with duties on an equal amount of American products.

After months of rhetoric, a 25 per cent levy on $34 billion of Chinese goods entering the USA took effect just after midnight Washington time on Friday with farming plows and airplane parts among the products targeted.

Even though neither Lu nor the Chinese Commerce ministry gave details about the scales of tariffs, Beijing has plans to slap punishing levies 545 U.S. products worth $34 billion a year that range from soybeans and lobsters to sport utility vehicles and whiskey. The Dow Jones Industrial Average shed 1,000 points from a high in mid-June, while the S&P 500 has also retreated notably since concerns about a trade war started to loom.

The American tariffs are the result of President Donald Trump's bid to protect U.S. jobs and stop "unfair transfers of American technology and intellectual property to China".

At the rally in Montana, Trump relished in his defiance of Republican challenges to his trade policy in front of a massive, raucous crowd of supporters. Previously, Trump had threatened up to impose additional tariffs on goods worth $400 billion should China follow through on its plans to retaliate against the initial USA tariffs on Chinese goods including autos, computer disk drives, pump and valve parts and light-emitting diodes.

That would bring the total of targeted Chinese goods to potentially $550bn - more than the $506bn in goods that China shipped to the U.S. previous year.

The Trump administration contends China has deployed predatory tactics in a push to overtake USA technological dominance. These tactics include cyber-theft as well as requiring American companies to hand over technology in exchange for access to China's market.

"Premiums reflect the rising possibility of China being more dependent on Brazil's soybeans", Luis Fernando Roque, an analyst at consultancy firm Safras & Mercado, said in a telephone interview from Porto Alegre.

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"There are winners and losers in every trade war", said the Iowa Soybean Association.

Trump's protectionism has "already caused criticisms and worries across the board", Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang told reporters. "Any unilateral pressure will be futile".

Trump has already complicated relations with allies over trade by raising import duties on steel, aluminum and autos from Europe, Canada, Mexico and Japan.

China's tariffs on hundreds of U.S. goods include top exports such as soybeans, sorghum and cotton, threatening USA farmers in states that backed Trump in the 2016 U.S. election, such as Texas and Iowa. If global trade tensions continue to simmer, however, it may not be too long before countries resort to other destructive measures such as devaluing their currencies to support domestic exporters.

"There should be no doubting Beijing's resolve", the newspaper said.

"We urge the two governments to come back to the negotiation table with the aim of having productive discussions based on achieving results - focused on fairness and reciprocal treatment - instead of escalating the current situation", said Zarit of the American Chamber of Commerce.

Kennedy say he thinks the Trump administration's enthusiasm for the conflict "will erode as the economic pain and political fallout from a trade war begin to take hold".

Wansleben said the US move "is not about economic issues, it's about ideology and politics and it's about the (U.S. mid-term) elections in November".