China slammed the US threat to expand tariff hikes to imports including apples, fish sticks and French doors as a "totally unacceptable" escalation of their trade battle on Wednesday and vowed to protect its "core interests".
"It is a chaotic time in worldwide trade", said Li.
China's imports of USA goods are so small that Beijing "cannot match fresh US tariffs", said Vishnu Varathan of Mizuho Bank in a report.
The Retail Industry Leaders Association said new tariffs on Chinese imports would punish American families by driving up prices.
The initial US tariff list focused on Chinese industrial products in an attempt to limit the impact on American consumers. They warned tariffs on imports raise consumer prices and expose USA farmers and manufacturers to retaliation.
The Trump administration on July 6 imposed 25 per cent duties on US$34 billion in Chinese imports, the first time the president has implemented tariffs directly on Beijing after threatening to do so for months.
It also said that China would have to respond to the USA actions.
The retaliatory tariffs that China enacted Friday targeted USA cars and major agricultural goods, such as soybeans and meat.
Reacting to the "totally unacceptable" decision by Washington, China's Ministry of Commerce in Beijing made it clear the world's second-largest economy would be forced to take "countermeasures".
In addition, the United States is considering duties on a further US$16 billion in Chinese goods, after a public hearing later this month.
In Beijing, Li Chenggang, assistant minister at China's Commerce Ministry, said at a forum in Beijing that the latest USA proposals interfered with the globalisation of the world economy and that China's support for a multilateral trade system would not change.
According to the Wall Street Journal, China began to shift their purchases away from USA farmers to Brazilian soybeans in the spring.
Stock markets in Asia fell sharply during early trading on Wednesday amid the escalating trade tension between the two economic giants.
"There is still a good six or seven weeks before these (tariffs) take effect so it is not like we are going to see these tomorrow, but it is definitely the next step in a trade war", TD Securities global strategist James Rossiter said.
"As in the past, the United States is willing to engage in efforts that could lead to a resolution of our concerns about China's unfair trade practices and to China opening its market to U.S. goods and services", he added.
The Republican chairman of the U-S Senate Finance Committee says the move is reckless. "It will also result in retaliatory tariffs, further hurting American workers", a Chamber spokeswoman said. A full-blown global trade war would shave 0.4 percentage point off world growth, according to Bloomberg Economics.
The United States complained China used predatory practices in a push to challenge American technological dominance.