China has imposed tariffs of up to 25% on 128 US imports, including pork and wine, after US President Donald Trump raised duties on foreign steel and aluminium imports earlier in March.
The tariffs affecting some $3bn (£2.1bn) of imports kick in on Monday.
Beijing said the move was to “safeguard China’s interests and balance” losses caused by new US tariffs.
China had previously said it did not want a trade war but would not sit by if its economy was hurt.
Mr Trump, however, has insisted that “trade wars are good”, and that it should be “easy” for the US to win one.
The American authorities have already announced plans for further targeted tariffs for tens of billions of dollars of Chinese imports, the BBC’s Chris Buckler reports from Washington.
They say that is in response to unfair trading practices in China that affect US companies but it raises the possibility of yet more action being taken in what has become a tit-for-tat trade battle, our correspondent adds.
Which products are affected?
US scrap aluminium and frozen pork will be subject to a 25% additional tariff – on top of existing duties.
Several other American foods including nuts, fresh and dried fruit, ginseng and wine will be hit by a 15% increase.
Rolled steel bars will likewise see a 15% rise in duties.
Why is this happening now?
China said the new tariffs were a retaliatory measure in light of Mr Trump’s decision to raise duties on steel and aluminium imports.
But further tax hikes may lie ahead.
On 22 March, the US said it was planning to impose duties on up to $60bn of Chinese imports and limit its investment in the US, in retaliation for years of alleged intellectual property theft.
The White House said it was acting to counter unfair competition from China’s state-led economy.
It remains to be seen if China will follow its opening gambit with stronger measures.
In theory, Beijing could tax US tech companies like Apple, for example. Such a move could force US tech giants to raise their prices to compensate.