The United States on Sunday slapped China with the first stage of a new round of tariffs that will see nearly all Chinese imports taxed, further fueling tensions in the tit-for-tat trade war between the world's two largest economies.

A total of around $300 billion worth of Chinese products, such as clothing, laptop computers and smartphones, will be subject to a 15 percent duty and the tariffs are being imposed in two stages from Sunday. China took corresponding retaliatory measures, as planned.

The escalation of the dispute is the latest blow to the world economy, rattling financial markets while fanning fears that the United States may be pushed into a recession.