The move, which was decided by the customs tariff commission of the State Council, followed weeks of rhetoric that has raised fears of a trade war between the world's two biggest economies, AFP reported.
The Trump administration had said its duties were aimed at steel and aluminum imports that it deemed a threat to US national security, but China's Commerce Ministry on Monday called that reasoning an "abuse" of World Trade Organization (WTO) guidelines.
The US measures "are directed only at a few countries, seriously violating the principle of non-discrimination as a cornerstone of the multilateral trading system, which seriously infringed the interests of the Chinese side," said a statement on the Commerce Ministry website.
US President Donald Trump has repeatedly railed against China's massive trade surplus with the United States and promised during the election campaign to take steps to slash the US deficit.
Beijing had warned last month that it was considering the tariffs of 15 percent and 25 percent on a range of products. They came into force on Monday, Xinhua said, citing a government statement.
The levies are in response to tariffs of 10 percent on aluminum and 25 percent on steel that have also angered US allies.
"We hope that the United States can withdraw measures that violate WTO rules as soon as possible to put trade in the relevant products between China and the US back on a normal track," the Commerce Ministry statement said.
"Cooperation between China and the United States, the world's two largest economies, is the only correct choice."
Trump has temporarily suspended the tariffs for the European Union as well as Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Mexico and South Korea.
But the White House has unveiled plans to impose new tariffs on some $60 billion of Chinese imports over the "theft" of intellectual property.
Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, the top economic official, told US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin in a phone call last month that the IP investigation violated international trade rules and Beijing was "ready to defend its national interests".
But Beijing has so far held fire against major US imports such as soybeans or Boeing aircraft – items that state-run daily the Global Times suggested should be targeted.
The United States ran a $375.2 billion deficit with China last year.