The US on Tuesday published a list of $50 billion in Chinese exports set to be hit by US tariffs because of Beijing's alleged theft of intellectual property and technology.
Trade tensions between the USA and China are escalating, although it is still early to determine if it will become a full-scale economic war between the world's two biggest powers.
While oil market watchers were wary of the brewing trade war between the United States and China, they did not expect to see steep falls amid signs of tightening supplies.
Northey was speaking after US President Donald Trump ordered officials to come up with an additional round of tariffs directed at China. A full-fledged trade war could slow global commerce.
China countered Trump's plan announced on Tuesday to slap tariffs on 1,333 of the country's products - such as semiconductors and lithium batteries - by announcing duties on a variety of agriculture products, including soybeans, the second-most-valuable USA crop.
The Trump administration had announced $50 billion in tariffs on China, to which China responded by announcing $50 billion in tariffs of its own.
The retaliatory tariffs increase the costs of US exports, making our products less affordable for Chinese consumers.
Exports to China face uncertainties, too.
"We have done everything to prevent this from happening, but we are still calling for a resolution", said Zhang Xiaoping, China Director of the U.S. Soybean Export Council said. "Now both sides have put up our lists".
Wang said the trade gap is not as big as the USA claims.
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The clash reflects the tension between Mr Trump's promises to narrow a USA trade deficit with China that stood at $375.2bn (€306.3bn) in goods past year and China's ruling Communist Party's development ambitions.
"China needs to substantially improve market access and competitive conditions for American companies selling to and investing in China in certain sectors, but unilateral tariffs may do more harm than good and do little to address the problems in China's IP and tech transfer policies".
The Chinese said the effective date of the new tariffs depended on when the United States action took effect, which could take about two months.
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross testifies before a House Committee on Appropriation subcommittee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, March 20, 2018. "If they want to negotiate, the door is open".
Soybeans are the top USA agricultural export to China and US soybean farmers and their allies fought hard to prevent the tariffs - something Zhu noted in the press conference. China's envoy to the World Trade Organization, Zhang Xiangchen, called it "an intentional and gross violation of the WTO's fundamental principles of nondiscrimination and bound tariffs".
"I can only hope that we solve our differences as soon as possible to avoid damage to the USA economy, Chinese economy and to USA companies". The U.S. shipped some 33 million tonnes.
Industrial technology categories dominate the USTR's planned list of 1,333 tariff items.
A trade war between the U.S. and China could rock the global economy or markets analysts have warned, with some claiming "American families will be on the losing end".
The California Almond industry values the trade relationship with China and has made significant investments in market development activities there for over 20 years in response to a growing demand of high quality California almonds.