The Trump administration's tariff hike on medical equipment, electronics and other goods from China apply to exports made by US or European companies as well as Chinese suppliers.
European companies that export from China are changing the global flow of their goods to avoid higher American tariffs, a business group said Tuesday, as the impact of the U.S.
The additional US tariffs, which will go through a two-month approval process including a public hearing, come after China retaliated in a tit-for-tat trade skirmish last week.
The move marked the latest escalation of the ongoing trade war between Washington and Beijing.
The previous round of tariffs: The Trump administration last week imposed 25 percent tariffs on $34 million in Chinese goods, prompting Beijing to impose retaliatory tariffs of the same amount on United States imports. But China only bought about $135 billion in USA goods past year, meaning it will run out of American products to tax before it matches Trump's latest move.
China's retaliation to those measures was "without any worldwide legal basis or justification", Lighthizer said Tuesday.
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A senior administration official told Fox News that China has been "non-responsive" to US actions and has insisted that Beijing does not see any way America has been hurt by Chinese policies.
Members of Congress are increasingly questioning Trump's aggressive trade policies, warning that tariffs on imports raise prices for consumers and expose U.S. farmers and manufacturers to retaliation overseas.
Robert Holleyman, the USA official in charge of trade with Asia during former president Barack Obama's second term, described the tariffs as "tax hikes on US imports". High-level talks between the two countries starting in May failed to deliver a breakthrough to head off a trade war.
"The Trump administration is gambling that by wielding such a big club, it will force China to back down", said Edward Alden, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. "Reliance on more and more taxes as a means to drive change is a high-risk strategy with USA importers and exporters at the heart". China responded with levies of its own, targeting $34 billion in USA products such as pork and whiskey.
"I'm not sure that Trump feels pressure".
The Washington Post's Danielle Paquette reported from Beijing.