Michael Pillsbury, director of the Centre for Chinese Strategy at the Hudson Institute, a conservative think tank in Washington, said at an event in Beijing on Monday that despite the dispute between the U.S. and China, the relationship between Presidents Donald Trump and Xi Jinping was strong. The White House initially announced tariffs - 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminum - arguing they would protect US companies and allow for the creation of new manufacturing plants - key Trump promises in the 2016 presidential campaign. He has begun serious discussions with the European Union to potentially reduce some tariffs, but his battle with China shows no sign of ebbing.
Another $16 billion in USA levies on Chinese goods will likely follow in the coming days or weeks, against which Beijing has said it will retaliate.
"In violation of the bilateral consensus reached after multiple rounds of negotiations, the United States has again unilaterally escalated trade frictions", the Chinese State Council Tariff Commission said in its statement on Friday. That's a negligible amount for China, which imported 17 million tons total past year, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
Washington suggested the rate on the proposed extra tariffs could be increased from 10 to 25 per cent.
According to He Maochun, an global relations professor at Tsinghua University, the United States president's latest tweets defending his use of tariffs were mainly aimed at persuading Americans. Over time, US companies are likely to buy fewer products from China and elsewhere as they look for alternative suppliers.
The investigation resulted in tariffs on steel and aluminum products from China and many other countries in March.
China's decision to threaten $60 billion of USA goods marks the first time this year that Beijing has not tried to match Washington's tariffs dollar for dollar. These tariffs will become effective if the U.S. further hinders bilateral trade by renewing tariffs on more Chinese products, the commission said in a statement.
Washington imposed 25 percent duties on $34 billion of Chinese goods on July 6 in response to complaints Beijing steals or pressures companies to hand over technology.
Chinese leaders have offered to narrow their politically sensitive trade surplus with the United States by purchasing more American goods. Other emerging market economies will have no choice but to follow China's devaluation lead.
Today's threat targeting a smaller amount of US goods reflects the fact that Beijing is running out of products for retaliation due to its lopsided trade balance with the United States.
Meanwhile, Chinese state TV said: "The White House's extreme pressure and blackmail are already clear to the global community".
The Ministry threat came after Mr. Wang met with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at a meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in Singapore on Friday.
Earlier this year, the United States also started charging levies on the imports of steel and aluminium from the European Union, Mexico, and Canada.
The events give Trump a chance to frame on his own terms his much-debated moves on trade, foreign policy, media-bashing and interactions with Russian President Vladimir Putin.