With Beijing's response to the tariffs aimed at intellectual-property abuses-enacted under Section 301 of the US trade law-as yet unannounced, the relatively limited value of trade curbs may be just the first stage of its response.
On Thursday, the White House announced plans to introduce tariffs on US$60 billion worth of Chinese imports.
"AmCham Shanghai believes that the American and Chinese governments should resolve existing trade frictions in a way that averts a trade war and promotes open markets and fair economic exchange", it said in a statement.
The United States today dragged China to the World Trade Organisation, accusing it of unfair technology practices that run counter to the WTO rules.
It allows unrestricted travel by USA officials to meet with members of Taiwan's government and for Taiwanese officials to visit the US under "respectful conditions", during which they are allowed to meet with their counterparts, including those from the departments of state and defence.
"I was not expecting that", Brown said. This list could grow if a trade war with China escalates.
"Xi's done an excellent job walking the thin line between Trump's aggressive rhetoric and protecting his own strong nationalist image", said Cliff Kupchan, chairman of Eurasia Group, a consultancy in Washington.
"The only thing we are interested in seeing from the Chinese side is action", one senior official, who was not authorized to speak on the record, told reporters.
Protectionist trade policies also lead to higher prices for goods and services for consumers and businesses. When the goods are shipped back to the U.S., they are considered imports in the trade balance.
That mission ended, however, in a humiliating snub.
"For a person who's been obsessed with stock market gains since his election victory 16 months ago, Trump doesn't appear too concerned about the impact his tariffs are having at the moment", wrote Craig Erlam, market analyst at OANDA, in a note to clients.
The measures were specifically in response to USA steel and aluminium tariffs, which were taking effect Friday. The administration said the suspensions can be renewed or revoked then, "pending discussions of satisfactory long-term alternative means to address the threatened impairment to USA national security".More news: Oil rises as Saudi backs extending output cuts into 2019
More news: Venezuelan Cryptocurrency Petro Banned by Trump Executive Order
More news: Player's apparent arrogance could be a barrier to Liverpool transfer this summer
Neither China's Foreign nor Defence Ministries immediately responded to a request for comment.
Trump argues that previous US presidents were way too soft on China. Reaction from USA industry groups sought to strike a balance, applauding the president for tackling the persistent drain of U.S. technology to Chinese competitors, but urging negotiations instead of tariffs.
"China will absolutely not sit back watching its rights and interests be damaged", said an unnamed official in charge of the ministry's treaty and law department. "Soybeans of Brazil, Argentina and Russian Federation are good alternatives", he wrote on Twitter.
"China has made clear its position several times that it stands firmly against such unilateral and trade protectionist practices from the USA side", an official with the China's Ministry of Commerce said on Thursday.
The order also directs the US Treasury to develop new proposals to increase safeguards against Chinese investments in the US that could compromise national security. And China is already eyeing American farmers, perhaps aiming at Mr. Trump's rural base of voters in places like Iowa and Ohio.
"What we hope is that cool heads and rational actions will prevail, instead of emotions or impulses holding sway", he said.
By including the WTO in its framework, the Trump administration is still working through established channels.
"They need to watch for what the two countries actually do - and not what they say they're going to do", he said.
Laptops made in China are on sale at a Best Buy store in NY, the United States, on March 22, 2018. China also was the third-largest market for USA pork and fourth-largest market for U.S. beef by value in 2017.
China appears to be breaking WTO rules by denying foreign patent holders, including USA companies, basic patent rights to stop a Chinese entity from using the technology after a licensing contract ends, the USTR said. "I think Trump is not professional; he doesn't understand the global situation", he said.
"China retains the right to adjust our measures according to actual conditions and will go through the necessary procedures according to the rules of the World Trade Organization (WTO)", it added.
"After 40 years of being students, learning from our teacher", he said, "now it is the time for the teacher to learn from its students".