Official data showed China's economy grew 6.7 percent in the second quarter of 2018, cooling from the 6.8 percent growth registered in each of the previous three quarters. That matched forecasts but was a tad lower than 6.8 percent in the first quarter. "But at the very least it deflects attention away from Chinese trade wars for the time being".
But Jim McCafferty, head of equity research, Asia ex-Japan at Nomura, said China's underlying economic data "appears to be quite robust". "The EIU is more concerned about slowing domestic demand within China's economy, with investment persistently weak and consumption also having slowed, and these are much more important drivers of growth than exports", he said in a research note.
"That's why I think markets are nervous, because there's no precedent for this type of behaviour", he said.
On Monday, a spokesman for Freeland defended Ottawa's retaliatory duties and argued they're within Canada's WTO and NAFTA rights.
Banks Commonwealth, NAB and Westpac fell between 0.4 percent and 0.8 percent, and mining heavyweights BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto declined 0.8 percent and half a percent, respectively.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index inched up 14.22 points or 0.1 percent to 28,539.66.
The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index dropped 26.90 points or 0.4 percent to 6,241.50, while the broader All Ordinaries Index ended down 25.20 points or 0.4 percent at 6,326.70. Shares in Taiwan were mostly flat. The Japanese market was closed in observance of Marine Day.
EU to impose duties on U.S. imports Friday after Trump tariffs
Freeland has insisted that Canada introduced stronger safeguards on steel well before the USA imposed the tariffs. USA stocks were poised for a flat opening with Dow futures and the broader S&P 500 futures down 0.1 percent.
Around 0335 GMT, S&P500 e-mini futures were up 0.1 percent at 2806.25.
CURRENCY: The euro was up 0.2 percent at $1.1717 while the dollar fell 0.1 percent to 112.33 yen.
If a US trading partner wants to go through the WTO's dispute settlement process, it can make a "request for consultations" that would start a 60-day period to talk about the issue. It could deploy measures against USA multinational companies operating in China such as consumer boycotts.
The U.S. Federal Reserve reiterated on Friday in its semi-annual Monetary Policy Report to the U.S. Congress that it expected "further gradual increases" in interest rates due to "solid" economic growth.
Washington opened separate disputes against China, the European Union, Canada, Mexico and Turkey, challenging the counter-tariffs they have since imposed on American farm exports and machinery, the office of the US Trade Representative said in a statement.
USA crude dipped 0.5 percent at $70.69 a barrel, weighed by easing concerns about supply disruptions that had pushed prices higher. Brent crude, used to price global oils, fell $1.35 to $73.98 per barrel.