Security guards walk in front of containers at the Yangshan Deep Water Port in Shanghai, China on April 24, 2018.
Asian markets slid to recent lows and Chinese exchanges dropped dramatically, after President Trumpthreatened China with tariffs on $200 billion in products, renewing fear of an all-out trade war that could hit the global economy.
After the U.S. Commerce Department officially determined China was using Vietnam to circumvent anti-steel dumping measures, Trump suggested that the U.S. may need a "different structure" in crafting a trade deal with China.
It wasn't immediately clear when the new tariffs could be put in place, as the trade office has yet to identify the Chinese goods to be penalized or conduct a legal review. The Australian dollar, often seen as a proxy to China-related trades, shed 0.25 percent to $0.7404.
"This is unacceptable.Further action must be taken to encourage China to change its unfair practices, open its market to United States goods, and accept a more balanced trade relationship with the United States", he said.
And the China trade offensive is only one side of Trump's multi-front battle with all major U.S. economic partners. "It is very unfortunate that instead of eliminating these unfair trading practices, China said that it intends to impose unjustified tariffs targeting USA workers, farmers, ranchers and businesses".
"If the USA loses its senses and publishes a new list", the statement said, "China will be forced to take comprehensive measures that are both strong in quantity and gravity and will fight back".
"Everyone knows ... China is the main perpetrator", he said. That could take a long and painful trade fight.
The ongoing trade dispute between the United States and China knocked the yuan to 6.4660 per dollar, its weakest in more than five months in the offshore market.
The tariffs announced by the White House on Friday hit more than 1,100 Chinese products with a rate of 25 percent.
"Whether that's threatening our technology leadership through intellectual property theft or forced technology transfer, we are hard at ensuring that we protect American property", he said.
The Chinese Embassy in Washington did not respond to a request for comment.
"I have an excellent relationship with President Xi (Jinping), and we will continue working together on many issues. Not due to announcements", he said.
Wall Street has viewed the escalating trade tensions with wariness, fearful they could strangle the economic growth achieved during Trump's watch.
Trump's latest tariffs Monday came on the same day the Senate voted to reverse the Commerce Department's recent move to save Chinese telecommunications giant ZTE by lifting a seven-year ban on the company doing business with USA firms, which was imposed after ZTE was found violating the terms of 2017 penalty agreement.
Trump said Monday that China's response "indicates its determination to keep the United States at a permanent and unfair disadvantage". China shot back with the matching $50 billion that it had previously threatened.