US stocks trade with modest losses amid renewed US-China trade tensions

Trade war US finalizes new batch of tariffs on $16bn of Chinese products

Exports surged a better-than-expected 12.2 percent in July, while imports soared 27.3 percent, also beating estimates.

China's commerce ministry responded by imposing retaliatory tariffs of 25% on 333 USA products, worth $16 billion, gave investors a reason to pause a multi-session rally that took the broader S&P 500 Index within striking distance of record highs.

Announcing the new duties, the US Trade Representatives Office: "China directs and unfairly facilitates the systematic investment in, and acquisition of, US companies and assets to generate large-scale technology transfer". "We will see a full-month tariff effect in August", Iris Pang, greater China economist at ING Wholesale Banking in Hong Kong, told Bloomberg News.

"Equally though, this may reflect a broader softening in economic momentum among developed economies given that exports to the European Union edged down too".

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The Trump administration unveiled a list of about United States dollars 16 billion worth of imports from China that will be hit by 25 percent tariffs starting August 23, CNN reports.

And the conflict is likely to escalate: The administration is preparing tariffs of up to 25 percent on an additional $200 billion ($297 billion NZD) in Chinese products.

Beijing has already threatened to retaliate against U.S. products in kind, warning Washington against "blackmailing and pressuring". China has responded with retaliatory tariffs of its own.

Americans import far more from China than the other way around, however, meaning Beijing may at some point need to look for other means of retaliation.

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It is the second time the USA has slapped tariffs on Chinese goods, despite persistent warnings by American businesses it will raise the price of goods for consumers.

Washington and Beijing are locked in battle over American accusations that China's export economy benefits from unfair policies and subsidies, and especially from the theft of American technological know-how.

The US-China trade war will cut the global gross domestic product by 0.7 percent by 2020, Oxford Economics said in a note Tuesday.

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