China and U.S. cross swords in trade battle ( File photo )

In the next precarious step in escalating trade tensions between two global powers, the U.S. on April 4 has proposed a 25% tariff on 1,300 goods from China.

The move comes a day after China slapped on new tariffs on U.S. fruit and nuts in response to newly imposed tariffs on Chinese steel and aluminum.

The list of Chinese items hit by the U.S. proposal includes ag machinery, technology products and many manufactured items.

“The U.S. Trade Representative (Trade Representative) has determined that the acts, policies, and practices of the Government of China related to technology transfer, intellectual property, and innovation covered in the investigation are unreasonable or discriminatory and burden or restrict U.S. commerce,” according to a notice in the Federal Register.

Comments and public hearings on the proposed tariffs are scheduled through mid-May.

The Chinese Ministry of Commerce fired back on April 4, announcing plans to impose a 25% tariff on $50 billion worth on a list of 106 U.S. exports, including chemicals and agricultural products.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service said China's proposed tariff increases target $16.5 billion in Chinese agriculture and food imports from the U.S., including soybeans, corn and corn products, wheat, sorghum, cotton, beef and beef products, cranberries, orange juice, tobacco and tobacco products.

Neither China nor the U.S. announced when the latest proposed tariffs would become effective.

Trading on the New York Stock Exchange reflected nervousness about the trade friction, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropping 350 points as of mid-morning April 4.