The effective start date for the new charges was not announced, though China’s Ministry of Commerce said the tariffs are designed to target up to $50 billion of U.S. products annually.
The 25 percent levy on U.S. imports includes products such as soybeans, cars and whiskey, Beijing said. The full list can be found here.
The move comes less than 24 hours after President Donald Trumpunveiled a list of Chinese imports that he aims to target as part of a crackdown on what he deems as unfair trade practices.
Sectors covered by Trump’s proposed tariffs include products used for robotics, information technology, communication technology and aerospace.
The trade showdown between Washington and Beijing has rattled investors and fueled market fears that the dispute could soon spiral into a full-blown trade war.
When asked whether global markets were now officially observing an all-out trade war, Goldman Sachs’ chief global equity strategist, Peter Oppenheimer, told CNBC: “I think it is clearly a trade battle at the very least.”
“I think the anxiety the market is reflecting is that it could escalate into a generalized (trade) war,” he added.
China’s proposed countermeasures prompted U.S. stocks to plunge on Wednesday. The Dow Jones industrial average tanked more than 450 points, with Boeing and Caterpillar leading all stocks in the index lower.
Meanwhile, Wednesday’s announcement also prompted European stocks to extend losses, with the pan-European Stoxx 600 hitting a session low of 0.8 percent shortly after the news.
“I think Beijing is very keen to show that it is not going to be bullied, too,” Neil Dwane, global strategist at Allianz Global Investors, told CNBC on Wednesday.
“(China) is going to position this as them responding to American aggression rather than necessarily being part of the problem,” he added.
The Chinese yuan also suffered its biggest daily fall against the dollar in two weeks after the measures were proposed. The currency slipped 0.4 percent to hit 6.3015 per dollar.