The proposal would increase the potential tariff rate from 10 percent the administration had initially put forward on July 10 for that wave of duties in a bid to pressure Beijing into making trade concessions, a source familiar with the plan said on Tuesday.
He is also betting that the US could wield more leverage because Beijing cannot match the tariffs proposed on $200 billion in Chinese goods.
China has been quick to retaliate against most U.S. tariff actions, although the Ministry of Commerce is yet to respond to Wednesday's announcement. The move was meant to bring China back to the negotiating table for talks over US demands for structural changes to the Chinese economy and a cut in the bilateral trade deficit.
"If the United States takes further measures that escalate the situation, China will definitely fight back", said Geng Shuang a foreign ministry spokesman.
So what does the Chinese side think of the U.S.'s proposed escalation?
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So far, the United States has imposed duties on $34 billion of imports from China as part of a first tranche of sanctions on $50 billion of goods.
US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said: "The increase in the possible rate of the additional duty is meant to provide the administration with additional options to encourage China to change its harmful policies and behaviour and adopt policies that will lead to fairer markets and prosperity for all of our citizens".
Logic suggests that if the trade dispute does continue to drag on China's economic performance, eventually steel will join copper in trending lower.
Washington is expected to soon implement more tariffs on $21 billion in additional Chinese goods, which China has already announced it will match immediately.
- United States dollars rises as White House ups ante in US-China trade spat. At a campaign rally in Florida Tuesday night, Mr. Trump said China's response targeting US farmers has been "not nice".
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Trump campaigned on a promise to bring down America's massive trade deficits by renegotiating trade agreements and getting tough on countries like China that sell the USA far more than they buy from it.
China already has retaliated with tariffs, hitting USA farm products in particular. Threat of a global trade war "will likely lead to elevated volatility, if not a renewed threat to the market's attempt to set a new high", says CFRA chief strategist Sam Stovall. It said retaliatory duties of between 5 and 25 per cent will be imposed on 5,207 products "if the USA side persists in putting its tariff measures into effect".
"Our door for dialogue is always open". 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.
US trade representatives are trying to re-engage China in trade talks to de-escalate tensions between the two countries. Officials say there will be a comment period for businesses and people affected by the tariffs.
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