China trade war sinks the Australian dollar, Wall Street, oil and gold

A woman tends to a child near a promotional gimmick in the form of a bomb and the U.S. flag outside a U.S. apparel shop in Beijing

The trade war between the world's top two economies has landed at the World Trade Organization today, as the United States demanded a "reckoning" over China's membership in the body.

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative proposed 10 percent tariffs on Tuesday on a list of 6,031 Chinese product lines ranging from burglar alarms to mackerel. Chinese indexes also slid.

The Chinese government vowed Wednesday to take "firm and forceful measures" against USA threats to expand tariff hikes to thousands of products like fish sticks, apples and French doors as their trade dispute escalates.

China does not have the option of replying in a tit-for-tat manner against the latest tariff measures, as it does not import enough from the United States to match Washington dollar for dollar.

That source's website was reportedly instructed not to publish its own stories about the ongoing trade battle, and not to send out news alerts to its app's users about the topic.

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Trump and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau traded barbs over the steel tariffs at a farcical summit of the Group of Seven richest countries last month.

United States officials argue they had no choice but to move forward on the new tariffs after China failed to respond to their concerns over unfair trade practices and Beijing's abuse of American intellectual property, according to two senior officials who spoke to reporters. The White House has recently increased tariffs on imports from a number of countries. "Something as simple as ball bearings - the prices are going up", said University of Denver Professor John Holcomb.

Stock markets over the last few days were recovering due to the view expressed by analysts, like JP Morgan and CFRA, that the initial salvos in the trade war were simply a "negotiating tactic".

'Tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese products amounts to another multibillion-dollar tax on American businesses and families, ' trade lawyer Scott Lincicome said. "I hope we can settle pretty soon".

The list is subject to a two-month public comment period before taking effect.

The eventual goal is to impose tariffs on 40% of Chinese imports, the same proportion of USA goods hit by Beijing's retaliation, an official told reporters.

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That prompted fears it might go beyond matching Washington's duty increases by disrupting operations for U.S. companies in China.

Asian equities tumbled in morning trade on Wednesday, led by losses in China as trade developments returned to focus after the Trump administration announced a list of tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese goods.

Chris Rogers, research director of a global shipping data platform called Panjiva, notes that shipments of Ivanka's products seem to have halted since the beginning of March, but explains that it's possible that the company's suppliers have changed and that they are now shipping from China under a code name.

Some lawmakers, frustrated by having to stand by as Trump imposes measures they see as harmful and protectionist, have begun to explore ways to rein in the president's authority to unilaterally impose tariffs. The Republican-controlled Senate voted 88-11 in favour of a non-binding resolution calling for Congress to have a role in implementing such tariffs.

"China's economy is much less dependent on trade now and on trade with the USA than it used to be", says Linda Lim, professor of corporate strategy and global business at the University of MI.

"It's just a step in the direction we'd like to go", Sen.

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