The tit-for-tat protectionist measures are poised to surge even higher, with the United States reviewing 10 percent duties on a further $200 billion in Chinese imports that it may even raise to 25 percent after a comment period ends on September 6.
China is slapping additional tariffs of 25 percent on $16 billion worth of USA imports from fuel and steel products to autos and medical equipment, the Chinese commerce ministry said, as the world's largest economies escalated their trade dispute.
The surplus with the United States was higher than China's overall trade surplus in July, which was $28.05 billion, indicating China ran a net trade deficit with the world excluding the U.S.
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. But it was 11% higher than in the same month past year.
After a strong start to the year, growth in the world's second-largest economy cooled slightly in the second quarter, partly hit by the government's years-long efforts to tackle debt risks.
The worry is that the escalating Sino-U.S. trade war, rising corporate bankruptcies, and a steep decline in the value of the yuan versus the dollar could put a significant dent on the economy.
Additionally, an executive from China's Dongming Petrochemical Group said at the time that he expected Beijing to soon impose the tariff on US oil imports.
"Certain people go against the tide for their own private ends and go against morality; the barrier of tariffs wantonly rise, and the stick of hegemony is raised all around", the commentary said.
The weak figures come as Beijing has been trying to encourage domestic consumption, with measures such as lowering tariffs for consumer goods, as part of its strategy to deal with the mounting pressure from the trade war, which is set to crimp the country's exports, traditionally one of the main drivers of growth.
"Although this may for a moment bring preening with delight, it will make it hard to resolve economic imbalances or out of kilter politics and other deep-rooted problems".
Beijing is expected to hit $16 billion worth of United States goods with equal tariffs in response to Tuesday's move.
John Neuffer, president and CEO of the Semiconductor Industry Association, said in a statement they were disappointed and puzzled why semiconductors remain on the final tariff list.
A US-China trade war will reduce global output by 0.7% by 2020, with China's economy taking a 1.3% hit and US GDP dropping 1%, Oxford Economics said in a research note on Tuesday, before the new list was released.