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"In order to defend the core interests of the country and the interests of the people, we are forced to retaliate", the Chinese Commerce Ministry said in a statement shortly after the tariffs took effect. Americans worry that rising Chinese technological prowess might erode US industrial leadership and prosperity.

However, while no details have been provided as yet, it looks like a Chinese retaliation may be in the works.

Beijing has made the semiconductor sector a key priority under its "Made in China 2025" strategy, which has intensified after a us ban on sales to Chinese phone maker ZTE Corp (000063.SZ) underscored China's lack of domestic chips.

"Generally speaking we're not going to get caught up in the tariffs the USA is applying to China because we have a different export profile", said Jacobi, who is executive director of the NZ International Business Forum. At the same time, Beijing has reiterated it will roll out tit-for-tat tariffs as tensions rapidly escalate. The first phase of that will affect $34 billion worth of goods. On Thursday aboard Air Force One, the president vowed to implement tariffs on an additional $16 billion worth of imported Chinese goods within the month. "So we have 50 plus 200 plus nearly 300".

USA tariffs on $34bn (£25.7bn) of Chinese goods have come into effect.

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The tariffs will hurt the American high-tech companies that Trump is trying to protect from intellectual property theft as it becomes increasingly hard for those companies to do business in China, she said.

With only US$130 billion in U.S. imports to retaliate against, Beijing has said it will take "qualitative" and "quantitative" measures against the United States, triggering fears it could cripple the operations of USA multinationals in China. "To put it simply, the United States is opening fire on the entire world, including itself".

A commodities trader in eastern Shandong province was told by customs at a major northern port that they have slowed the clearance of goods from the United States on Beijing's list.

In a fresh sign of industry´s unease, a business survey on Thursday again showed the U.S. services sector was already experiencing supply chain interruptions and rising costs in anticipation of heightened trade restrictions.

The American Chamber of Commerce in China appealed to both sides to negotiate.

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USA carmaker Ford Motor Co (F.N) said on Thursday it has no plans to hike retail prices of its imported Ford and Lincoln models in China, despite the steep additional tariffs on imported US vehicles set to come into play on Friday. It equated the USA move to bullying and warned that globally it would trigger market turmoil, hamper economic recovery, and pose a "grave threat" to the security of industry and value chains.

"By threatening unilateral action without having any allies and not reducing domestic discord on trade, the Trump administration has invited China to stand tough", said Scott Kennedy, director of the Project on Chinese Business and Political Economy at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Donald Trump's trade war could potentially drag in products from other American trade partners, undermining relations. It said they would damage the global economy unless other countries stop them.

The start of the trade war likely confirms the widening rupture between Trump and his own Republican Party, a traditional champion of free trade and big business whose members, while critical, have so-far shrunk from curtailing the White House's trade powers. For example, the USA government wants China to rein in government subsidies for policies like "Made in China 2025", which seeks to pump hundreds of billions of dollars into industries such as robotics, electric cars and computer chips with the aim of becoming a global leader.

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The business lobbying group says farm states and states with large auto production plants will be particularly vulnerable. Such a war could cost jobs, Bracken said. "They treat us very unfairly", Trump said qualifying his remarks.