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Signaling a potential trade war with the United States, China said Wednesday it will slap punitive tariffs on up to $4 billion in U.S.-made imports if Washington makes good on threats to impose similar sanctions in a trade dispute.

The official Xinhua news agency quoted officials of the Ministry of Foreign Economic Relations and Trade as saying they were drawing up a list of American-made goods, including aircraft and computers, as targets for retaliation should the United States move first.The Chinese counterattack on trade was another sign of the turmoil in relations between Washington and Beijing, coming amid continued outrage by China over the U.S. decision last week to sell F-16 fighter jets to Taiwan.

The announcement was China's first specific threat in the "market access" dispute, in which the United States has been pressing Beijing to end import bans, quotas and other restrictions it claims keep American products off the Chinese market.