In addition to Beijing's top-down control, the recent diversification of China's economy and its exports makes the country better positioned to endure a trade war now than it could have in the past, NPR's Jim Zarroli reports.
A week after moving to ease trade tensions with the European Union, the administration said it would consider imposing a 25 percent tariff on certain Chinese imports, up from the 10 percent Trump proposed last month. "The U.S. unilaterally exerting pressure on China will get the opposite of what it wants", he said.
China has announced plans to put tariffs of up to 25% on USA products worth $60 billion, the latest salvo in an escalating trade war. "Regrettably, instead of changing its harmful behaviour, China has illegally retaliated against USA workers, farmers, ranchers and businesses", Lighthizer said in a statement.
China's government warned Wednesday it will retaliate if Washington imposes new trade penalties, following a report the Trump administration will propose increasing the tariff rate on an additional $200 billion of Chinese imports.
There is still a lengthy process that must take place before any proposed tariffs go into effect, if the White House decides to move forward.
"Escalating tariffs against China is the wrong approach to address legitimate concerns U.S. businesses have with China's harmful practices", said Myron Brilliant, head of global affairs for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The Asian economic giant has shown no signs of backing down from Trump's threats, and is said to be considering other types of retaliation, such as tougher inspections on American imports and delaying licensing and approvals for mergers.
The US imposed 25 per cent tariffs on $US34 billion of Chinese products in early July, and the review period on another $US16 billion of imports ends on Wednesday.
China is threatening to impose the tariffs on a wide range of products, including chemicals, plastics and leather goods, according to business groups representing those industries.
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The proposed higher tariff "is meant to provide the administration with additional options to encourage China to change its harmful policies and behavior and adopt policies that will lead to fairer markets", Lighthizer said Wednesday.
China has urged the United States to return to rationality after President Donald Trump's administration ratcheted up pressure on Beijing over trade.
The two countries have not had formal talks on the trade dispute since early June. "I think it would be a very complicated thing to get out of, because I don't see an easy remedy once we go down this path", said Michael Camuñez, president and CEO of Monarch Global Strategies and former USA assistant secretary of commerce for market access during the Obama administration.
The new list includes products as varied as snow blowers and 3-D printers, suggesting Chinese authorities are struggling to find enough imports their own economy can do without.
By comparison, the United States imported more than $500 billion in Chinese goods in 2016.
"Secondly, we would advise the United States side to return to reason, and not blindly let emotions affect their decisions, because in the end this will harm themselves", Geng said. "This has gone on for long enough and he's going to do something about it".
"The Chinese side always believes that trade disputes must be resolved through talks and negotiations and our sincerity and efforts are there for the worldwide community to see", he added. What these numbers do not show is that if U.S. goods are sent to China for assembly and then returned to the United States, these so-called "intermediate goods" are considered Chinese imports, even if the parts are made in the US.