China on Wednesday notified the World Trade Organisation (WTO) of imposing $611.5 million worth of retaliatory tariffs on $2.75 billion worth of US imports including pork, nuts and ethanol.
The move is considered as retaliation to the United States for announcing 25 percent tariffs on some 1,300 industrial technology, transport and medical products to try to force changes in Beijing's intellectual property practices.
The US Trade Representative's office unveiled a list of mainly non-consumer products representing about $50 billion of annual imports that would nonetheless hit supply chains for many US manufacturers. The list ranges from chemicals to light-emitting diodes, motorcycles and dental devices.
Publication of the tariff lists starts a public comment and consultation period expected to last around two months, after which USTR said it would issue a "final determination" on the product list. It has scheduled a May 15 public hearing on the tariffs.
USTR said the tariffs were proposed "in response to China's policies that coerce American companies into transferring their technology and intellectual property to domestic Chinese enterprises."
The agency added that such policies "bolster China's stated intention of seizing economic leadership in advanced technology as set forth in its industrial plans, such as "Made in China 2025."
China's commerce ministry said it "strongly condemns and firmly opposes" the proposed US tariffs following the Section 301 probe and will take counter measures, according to the official Xinhua news agency.
The response follows a move by the Trump administration on Tuesday to slap 25 percent tariffs on some 1,300 industrial technology, transport and medical products to try to force changes in Beijing's intellectual property practices.
The Ministry of Commerce (MofCom) said it "will soon take measure of equal intensity and scale against US goods."
"We have the confidence and ability to respond to any protectionist measures by the United States," said MofCom.
The US list heavily targets advanced technology products that benefit from Beijing's "Made in China 2025" programme, which aims to replace advanced technology imports with domestic products and build a dominant position in future industries.
The state-led 2025 programme targets 10 strategic industries: advanced information technology, robotics, aircraft, new energy vehicles, pharmaceuticals, electric power equipment, advanced materials, agricultural machinery, shipbuilding and marine engineering and advanced rail equipment.