Last week, China proposed additional tariffs on another $60 billion of USA goods after Trump raised planned tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports to 25 percent from 10 percent.
While trade tensions are being ratcheting up, China's trade surplus with the USA stood at US$28.1 billion in July, close to the record-high in June, data released Wednesday showed.
The move is the latest escalation of President Donald Trump'strade war with China. For instance, the major complaint is about the theft of United States intellectual property by Chinese firms.
Trade tensions between the U.S. and China have been intensifying over recent months with each country imposing levies on mutual imports with extra duties.
The Chinese government responded and said Beijing will also slap additional import tariffs of 25% on $16 billion worth of United States goods ranging from oil and steel products to autos and medical equipment.
Thanks to the surge, the trade surplus narrowed by 42.6 percent to 176.96 billion yuan last month.
The tariffs are aimed at industrial, rather than consumer, imports.
"With each successive round of tariffs, Trump continues to back China into a corner, forcing Beijing to respond in kind", said James Zimmerman, a partner in the Beijing office of worldwide law firm Perkins Coie and a former chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce in China.
After a strong start to the year, growth in the world's second-largest economy cooled slightly in the second quarter, partly hit by the government's years-long efforts to tackle debt risks.
Imports grew 27.3 percent in July, customs said, beating analysts' forecast of 16.2 percent growth, and compared with a 14.1 percent rise in June.
The trade balance between the two countries, which is at the center of the tariffs tussle, continued to be in favor of China.
China has already retaliated with duties of its own, and has pledged to match the USA dollar for dollar with new tariffs.
Economists had forecast the surplus would be $39.33 billion in July, compared to a surplus of $41.47 billion in June. US President Donald Trump accused Beijing of "being vicious" on trade, stressing that Chinese measures were targeting US farmers on objective.
The increased tariffs don't take effect until August 23, leaving time for the two sides to negotiate an alternative.
The U.S. action that prompted the Chinese retaliation was the latest by President Donald Trump to put pressure on China to negotiate trade concessions, after Washingtonimposed tariffs on $34 billion United States in goods last month.
Beijing has called on USA officials to be "cool headed", but fired back warning it would impose duties on an additional US$60 billion in United States goods, a threat the White House dismissed as "weak".
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