Asian stocks fell broadly on Tuesday after the Trump administration announced plans to reinstate tariffs on metal imports from Brazil and Argentina and proposed retaliatory tariffs against France for its new digital services tax.
Weak U.S. manufacturing data and worries that the U.S. could re-escalate trade tensions with China also kept investors nervous.
Chinese shares rose as investors picked up beaten-down stocks with low valuations. The benchmark Shanghai index briefly hit a more than three-month low before reversing course to end the session up 8.89 points, or 0.31 percent, at 2,884.70.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng index fell 0.2 percent to 26,391.30 after a government report showed the country's retail sales fell for the ninth straight month in October.
Japanese shares retreated on fresh concerns about global trade. Weak U.S. manufacturing data also weighed on markets. The Nikkei average ended down 149.69 points, or 0.64 percent, at 23,379.81, while the broader Topix index closed 0.45 percent lower at 1,706.73.
Defensive shares paced the declines, with Kikkoman Corp and Nisshin Group falling around 3 percent. Drugmaker Astellas Pharma dropped 1.1 percent after it agreed to acquire Audentes Therapeutics Inc for about $3 billion in cash. Baby goods maker Pigeon plummeted 13.8 percent after slashing its annual outlook.
Australian markets posted their biggest intraday percentage loss in two months as fresh trade jitters put investors on the defensive.
The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index slumped 150 points, or 2.19 percent, to 6,712.30 while the broader All Ordinaires index dropped 146.90 points, or 2.11 percent, to 6,818.40.
Mining heavyweights BHP and Rio Tinto declined 1.4 percent and half a percent, respectively after the release of weak U.S. manufacturing data and tariff imposition on Brazilian and Argentinian steel.
The big four banks fell 1-3 percent as the Reserve Bank of Australia left its key interest rate unchanged and said it prefers to "wait and assess" the impact of the three cuts delivered since June.
Healthcare stocks ended deep in the red, with heavyweight CSL losing 2.9 percent and Cochlear declining 2 percent.
Metcash dropped 1.4 percent after saying it would record a A$237.4 million write-down against its major food division.
Treasury Wine Estates tumbled 3 percent after it appointed the former chief financial officer of Aristocrat Leisure, Toni Korsanos, as an independent non-executive director.
Investors ignored official data showing that Australia logged current account surplus for the second consecutive quarter in the three months to September.
South Korea's Kospi average declined 0.38 percent to close at 2,084.07. The country's economic growth slowed as initially estimated in the third quarter on weaker construction activity, revised data from the Bank of Korea showed.
GDP grew 0.4 percent sequentially, in line with the advance estimate, but slower than the 1 percent expansion seen in the second quarter.
New Zealand shares fell notably, with the benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index ending down 73.71 points, or 0,65 percent, at 11,228.27. Exporter Fisher & Paykel Healthcare Corp and dairy firm a2Milk Co fell over 3 percent each.
U.S. stocks fell sharply overnight as factory activity contracted further in November and President Trump said he would reinstate tariffs on metal imports from Brazil and Argentina.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 1 percent, the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite shed 1.1 percent and the S&P 500 declined 0.9 percent.