US President Donald Trump is threatening to target China with an additional $100bn in tariffs, in the third round of trade warfare.

President Trump’s $100bn announced on Thursday should be added to the $50bn that triggered this spiral. The Trump administration considers tariffs the logical consequence of alleged intellectual property theft and will continue the trade war until Beijing is willing to negotiate trade. Washington wants to see the Chinese trade surplus slashed from $375bn to $100bn.

The Chinese answer was immediate, warning Washington that it would address “protectionism” in kind. “We don’t want a trade war but we aren’t afraid of fighting one,” the Chinese Ministry of Commerce said in a statement.

the Chinese Ministry of Commerce issued a statement warning that China will raise import tariffs for soya beans. The US farmers have a 37% share of global production, 60% of which is exported to China.

The effect of this should be devastating to US Midwest producers, many of whom vote Republican in Iowa, Illinois, Nebraska, Indiana, Missouri, and Minnesota.

On Wednesday, China published a list of 106 products ranging from soya beans to aircraft that will be faced with a 15-to-25% tariff. That was in response to the first wave of US tariffs announce on Tuesday, targeting 125 Chinese products with 25% tariffs, in addition to $3bn worth of tariffs on steel and aluminum.

If any of these threats are implemented they would signal the biggest trade war since the Second World War. The Chinese response is politically targeted, listing products made in Republican-voting regions. China has also signaled out aircraft, cars and other products that should affect the blue-collar base of President Trump.