The EU put some 180 types of products on its tariffs list, from agricultural products like orange and cranberry juice to steel and aluminium items to manufactured goods, such as makeup, clothes, and boats.
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, who has said the bloc would target "Harley-Davidson, bourbon and Levi's jeans", said on Thursday the United States decision "goes against all logic and history".
From the start of June, the European Union has been hit by tariffs of 25 per cent on steel and 10 per cent on aluminium imports imposed by US President Donald Trump, who has justified the move on the grounds of national security.
The EU has also filed a case with the World Trade Organisation (WTO), claiming Trump's tariffs were "pure protectionist" and "illegal".
The imposition of tariffs has raised the specter of a full-blown trade war, which could be costly to consumers, jobs and the global economy.
When the US imposed the tariffs it said it was doing so as a matter of national security - further angering its closest allies, whose tariffs are now targeting President Trump's base of support - in the steel and aluminum industries, but also in farming states, and in whiskey-producing Kentucky. "The U.S.is accustomed to holding "big sticks" for negotiations, but this approach does not apply to China".
"The rules of worldwide trade that we have developed over the years with our American partners can not be violated without a reaction from our side", Malmstrom said.
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In two weeks, the U.S. is due to start taxing $US34 billion in Chinese goods. Mexico retaliated against the move two weeks ago while Canada said it would place tariffs on U-S exports from July the first.
As painful as the brewing trade war could prove, many have seen it coming.
Malmström added that if the USA removes its tariffs, the European taxes would also be lifted.
The equivalent value of €2.8 billion worth of U.S. goods that will be hit by import duties charged by the EU.
'It's extraordinary for the United States to be imposing tariffs on its closest allies, ' says former senior counsel to Canada on CETA, Christophe Bondy, on Power & Politics.
Trump ran for the presidency on a vow to topple seven decades of American policy that had favored ever-freer trade among nations.
China has said it would impose additional tariffs on 659 USA goods, with duties on 545 to kick in on July 6, after Trump said Washington would levy tariffs on $50 billion of Chinese products.