Thanks to the surge, the trade surplus narrowed by 42.6 percent to 176.96 billion yuan last month.
The United States and China trade goods and services worth about $650 billion each year, the largest trading relationship in the world between two countries.
China's exports grew faster than expected in July, while imports surged, showing both domestic and worldwide demand continue for now to shrug off the uncertainty of the trade conflict with the US.
The first tariffs were imposed in March and China responded in April.
"My expectation is that U.S. tariffs on $250 billion of imports from China will be in effect about a month prior to the November U.S. elections". Fuel imports rose 14 percent on year at 2.67 million tonnes.
Looking forward, China tends to maintain strong imports, while exports are also likely to hold steady despite uncertainties rising from trade tensions with the United States, Bai said.
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The trade balance between the two countries, which is at the center of the tariffs tussle, continued to be in favor of China.
In July the surplus with the United States was at $28.09 billion, down a touch from $28.93 billion in June, according to Reuters calculations based on customs data released on Wednesday.
A spokeswoman for the U.S. Trade Representative's office could not immediately be reached for comment on China's retaliation announcement or whether this would trigger Trump's next round of threatened tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods.
For January-July, the surplus with the US rose to $161.63 billion, compared with about $142.75 billion in the same period a year ago.
The duties are part of a broader round of tariffs on $50bn worth of goods the USA announced in March. US President Donald Trump accused Beijing of "being vicious" on trade, stressing that Chinese measures were targeting US farmers on goal.
Trump, who has boasted that trade wars are "easy to win", has threatened to ramp up the pressure and slap tariffs on virtually all of China's exports to the United States if Beijing does not back down and take steps to reduce the US$335 billion USA trade deficit with that country.