In a further move to escalate tensions between the world's two largest economies, U.S. President Donald Trump said Washington could ultimately raise tariffs on more than $500 billion in Chinese products - almost the total value of U.S. imports from the country past year.
China was expected to respond dollar-for-dollar but did not immediately release details of the countermeasures, which were expected mainly to target agricultural products in a bid to hurt supporters of US President Donald Trump.
Beijing had previously flagged that China would make a "necessary counterattack" if needed on a similar amount of US exports including soybeans and cars.
China is targeting agriculture products and mechanical parts for the energy sector, whereas the USA is aiming its tariffs at a large number of industrial products and resources.
The tariffs are bound to adversely affect many U.S. industries and could be passed on to American consumers in the form of higher prices.
China has said it will not "fire the first shot" in a trade war with the United States, but its customs agency made clear on Thursday that Chinese tariffs on American goods would take effect immediately after US duties on Chinese goods are put in place.
US President Donald Trump last Thursday upped the ante on his country's largest trading partner, warning that the United States may ultimately target more than US$500 billion worth of Chinese goods, roughly the total amount of US imports from China past year.
Reuters news agency reported that as of Friday morning, when tariffs took effect, some major Chinese ports had delayed clearing goods from the US.
The EU, stung by the steel tariffs, has launched retaliatory tariffs worth $3.4bn on a wide variety of products, including whiskey, Levi's jeans and Harley-Davidson motorcycles.
Last month, the European Union imposed tariffs on American goods worth Dollars 3 billion such as yachts, bourbon and motorcycles.
Because of this first round of hostilities, American businesses and, ultimately, consumers could end up paying more for such Chinese-made products as construction equipment and other machinery. "The real battle will be on the flanks", in unnecessary inspections, quarantines, and heightened scrutiny, said James Zimmerman, a partner in the Beijing office of Perkins Cole LLP, an worldwide law firm, the Post reported.
The Commerce Ministry on Friday criticized Washington for "trade bullying" following the tariff hike that took effect at noon Beijing time in a spiraling dispute over technology policy that companies worry could chill global economic growth.
Dave Warner, a spokesman for the National Pork Producers Council, said pork producers have already seen the value of their pigs fall after a previous Chinese tariff.
But as of Friday, he had Trump to thank for an unexpected boost to his income after being thrust to the front line of a trade war between the two countries.
Judging from developments between the world's two largest economies, the trade row is more likely to get worse and worse with no quick fix in sight.
More than half of exported US soybeans are sent to China, mostly to produce cooking oil and livestock feed.
The administration imposed 25 percent duties on $34 billion of imports from China, the first in a series of potential increases.
The Trump administration is confronting China over tactics it says include stealing technology and pressuring foreign companies to hand it over as the price of admission to China's vast market. "Generally, these things are lose-lose propositions for both sides in a trade war". He added the USA is ready to target an additional $200 billion, and then $300 billion more should Beijing retaliate.