Beijing has retaliated against Donald Trump's decision to impose duties on more than half of all Chinese imports by slapping new tariffs on US$60 billion of American goods and scolding the US president for a lack of "good faith" in bilateral trade negotiations, reports the UK's Financial Times.
The new tariffs announced by the state council - at 5 and 10 per cent - are less than Beijing had first threatened when it put forward a list in August of duties of up to 25 per cent.
Mr Trump also imposed tariffs towards the lower end of expectations on Monday, announcing 10 per cent duties on about $200 billion worth of Chinese imports beginning next week. He threatened to increase the rate to 25 per cent next year if no trade deal were reached with Beijing.
One person briefed by Chinese officials on Tuesday said the White House decision to hold off from 25 per cent tariffs for now could still provide room for the two sides to manoeuvre.
Beijing has struggled to gauge their response to Mr Trump's aggressive use of tariffs, attempting at first to engage in talks with US cabinet officials, only to find those negotiations largely ignored by the White House.
"We have been stressing that talks need to happen on the basis of parity, equality and good faith," a Chinese government spokesperson said at a daily foreign ministry briefing. "What the US has done shows no sincerity and good faith at all."
Mr Trump continued to give few signs he is willing to strike a compromise with Beijing, warning on Twitter that he was willing to impose yet another round of duties if China targeted US farmers or blue-collar workers in their measures.
"China has openly stated that they are actively trying to impact and change our election by attacking our farmers, ranchers and industrial workers because of their loyalty to me," Mr Trump wrote just ahead of the Chinese announcement.
Later at a press conference, the US president added: "China rebuilt their country with tremendous amounts of money pouring out of the United States. We cannot let them do any more what they have done.
"We are the piggy bank to the world," he said. "We have been ripped off by China, we have been ripped off by ...the European Union."
A senior Chinese securities regulator had criticised the US president earlier in the day for "poisoning" the atmosphere for negotiations. "He tries to put pressure on China so he can get concessions," said Fang Xinghai, who works closely with vice-premier Liu He. "That kind of tactic is not going to work," Mr Fang added.