Trump hit back again late Thursday, instructing trade officials to consider tariffs on an additional $100 billion in imports.
China's Commerce Ministry spokesman, Gao Feng, calling the United States action "extremely mistaken" and unjustified, said the spat was a struggle between unilateralism and multilateralism and that no negotiations were likely in the current circumstances.
"We haven't yet given China a list of demands on what we want", Kudlow told reporters later on Friday at the White House.
China retaliated by unveiling planned levies on $50 billion worth of major U.S. exports including soybeans, cars and small aircraft.
One silver lining: American automakers that import electric vehicle batteries from China were spared from the US tariffs.
In the wake of the decision to impose steep tariffs on steel and aluminium imports, the USA on Tuesday published a list of $50 billion in Chinese goods to be hit by tariffs over what Washington says is widespread theft of intellectual property and technology.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said there's a "potential for a trade war" with China, but expressed hope that the world's two largest economies can work out their differences. A politician saying "we're running record trade deficits" and a politician saying "we're running record capital surpluses" are saying the same thing. When trade between the two countries falls, Chinese producers would nearly certainly suffer more than American ones.
On a NY radio show, the president said short-term economic pain would be worth it.
Both the US and China will lose from a trade war, but the USA stands to lose more, and it will be an entirely preventable, self-inflicted loss.
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Despite the mounting tension, the U.S. president said his country is not in conflict, Bloomberg said. Trade wars, however, are like real wars in that they are easy to start, but, once underway, the course is unpredictable and they can be hard to halt.
That was backed up by Trump's chief economic adviser, Larry Kudlow, who said tariff negotiations with China had not started.
The U.S. tariffs target the high-end technology products made in China.
He said he had also instructed agricultural officials to implement a plan to protect USA farmers and agricultural interests.
"Under these conditions, the two sides can not conduct any negotiations on this issue", Gao said, without elaborating.
United States exports to China are equivalent to less than 5% of the output of the agricultural and other primary products industry. And that's before you account for the Chinese government's reluctance to put tariffs on goods that might carry some political or strategic cost.
Any war has winners and losers within countries, says David Laborde, a senior research fellow in the Markets, Trade and Institutions Division of IFPRI in Washington, DC.
Although the implementation of tariffs is still some time away, futures markets and the stock market have felt the effects.
"We are on a risky downward spiral and American families will be on the losing end", Shay added in a statement, urging Trump " to stop playing a game of chicken with the United States economy".