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"The Chinese government as always will have no choice but to take the necessary countermeasures", it said.

The Commerce Ministry on Wednesday gave no details, but Beijing responded to last week's USA tariff hike on $US34 billion ($A46 billion) of imports from China by increasing its own duties on the same amount of American goods.

The Chinese government has vowed to take "firm and forceful measures" against U.S. threats to expand tariff hikes. This first wave of tariffs was met with an equal response from the Chinese side, which slapped counter-tariffs on U.S. goods like soybeans and bourbon.

The abrupt escalation is "totally unacceptable", said a Commerce Ministry statement.

European companies that export from China are changing the global flow of their goods to avoid paying higher American tariffs.

The goal is to bring the total amount of Chinese imports up to 40 per cent of the total imported from the Asian power, since the U.S. products hit by Beijing's retaliation represent that share of exports, an official told reporters in a conference call.

It also includes consumer goods ranging from auto tyres, furniture, wood products, handbags and suitcases, to dog and cat food, baseball gloves, carpets, doors, bicycles, skis, golf bags, toilet paper and beauty products.

The US and others will press China to address its role in creating the overcapacity in steel and aluminum markets that has depressed global prices and shuttered mills across the globe.

It also said China would respond to the United States actions.

This comes on top of a 25% tariff on $34 billion worth of imports from China that came into effect last week. Each side is planning tariffs on a further $16 billion in goods that would bring the totals to $50 billion. -China trade war jolted investor sentiment.

Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 fell 1.2% and the South Korean Kospi lost 0.6% while Hong Kong's Hang Seng shed 1.3%.

S&P 500 and Dow futures dropped around 1 percent, pointing to a weak opening on Wall Street later on Wednesday.

More news: Trump releases ‘very nice’ letter from Kim Jong Un

CURRENCIES: The dollar eased to 111.23 yen from 111.28 yen on Tuesday.

President Donald Trump has warned that the U.S.is ready to target an additional $200 billion in Chinese imports - and then $300 billion more - if Beijing refuses to yield to USA demands and continues to retaliate. And American consumers will have to pay the high price because United States firms will have to buy them despite the high tariffs.

Administration officials said a two-month process will allow the public to comment on the proposed tariffs before the list is finalized.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has supported Trump's domestic tax cuts and efforts to reduce regulation of businesses, but it has been critical of Trump's aggressive tariff policies.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch, a senior member of Trump's Republican Party, said the announcement "appears reckless and is not a targeted approach".

While cranking up the tariff war, the USA has also indicated its willingness to talk.

It said importers would be encouraged to shift to buying soybeans and other farm goods from countries that aren't affected by the tariffs. Imposing taxes on another $200 billion worth of products will raise the costs of every day goods for American families, farmers, ranchers, workers, and job creators. "Unfortunately, China has not changed its behavior - behavior that puts the future of the U.S. economy at risk".

The general manager of a medical device exporter that makes 15 percent to 20 percent of its sales to the United States said he plans to fly to the USA this week to negotiate with customers who stopped ordering its syringes and other equipment.

President Donald Trump has threatened to tax as much as $550 billion in Chinese products — an amount that exceeds America's total imports from China a year ago.

Global markets are in turmoil as the Trump administration intensifies its trade war once again.

On Monday, Chinese and German companies including BASF and Volkswagen signed business deals worth 20 billion euros ($23.6 billion) during a visit to Berlin by China's No. 2 leader, Premier Li Keqiang.