Trump threatens higher tariffs on Chinese imports

"On June 18, the president directed me to identify $200 billion worth of Chinese goods for additional tariffs at a rate of 10 percent, in response to China's decision to cause further harm to US workers, farmers, and businesses by imposing retaliatory duties on USA goods", Lighthizer said.

Aerial view of containers at a loading terminal in the port of Hamburg, Germany August 1, 2018.

USA trade representative Robert Lighthizer had said on Wednesday that he had secured the green signal from Trump to consider raising the tariffs from the earlier planned 10% to 25% under an ongoing Section 301 targeting Chinese goods on grounds of alleged theft and forced transfer of technologies from U.S. companies.

He said: "China's position is firm and clear cut".

The source said President Donald Trump's administration could announce the tougher proposal as early as Wednesday in Washington. Since then, the USA has continued to expand the list of targeted goods, and even threatened to add tariffs on all Chinese goods.

China is experiencing a weakening economy, hurting its ability to withstand US trade pressure.

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"China's trade abuses need to be addressed, but tariffs are not the answer", the National Retail Federation said.

"This won't work on China", Geng said, adding that the Trump administration should "not blindly let emotions affect their decisions, because in the end this will harm themselves". There have been no formal talks between Washington and Beijing over Trump's demands for weeks. "The proposed modification is to maintain the original $34 billion action and the proposed $16 billion action, and to take further action in the form of an additional 10 per cent ad valorem duty on products of China with an annual trade value of approximately $200 billion".

Officials say there will be a comment period for businesses and people affected by the tariffs. The list, unveiled on July 10, hits American consumers harder than previous rounds, with targeted goods ranging from Chinese tilapia fish and dog food to furniture, lighting products, printed circuit boards and building materials. Geng said at a news conference, "we advise the United States to be level-headed and avoid simply acting on impulse".

In Beijing Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said Wednesday that "blackmail and pressure from the USA side will never work on China".

Tu Xinquan, a professor at the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing, said that the U.S. had been very critical of China's state-supported economic growth model and wanted to get rid of it because it knew it gave Beijing an advantage.

The Trump administration has threatened to increase the rate of its tariffs against China from 10 percent to 25 percent.

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