In an escalation to the trade war with China, US President Donald Trump has ordered his administration to consider raising the tariffs on Chinese goods. As talks between Washington and Beijing remain at a standstill, Trump advised to double the proposed tariff from 10 per cent to 25 per cent, on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods.
Trump on Wednesday instructed the US trade representative to contemplate an increase in tariffs to 25 per cent, on Chinese imports. The imports include petroleum, refrigerators, fish, handbags, chemicals and others.
The hike in tariffs would come on top of the existing penalties on $34 billion worth of products and an additional $16 billion that are scheduled to go into effect soon, The New York Times reported.
"The increase in the possible rate of the additional duty is intended 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," US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said in a statement.
"China has illegally retaliated against US workers, farmers, ranchers and businesses," he said.
A final decision on the tariff hike is however not expected before September.
"China's position is firm and clear cut," said Geng Shuang, a spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, in response to the announcement.
"It remains unchanged. The blackmailing and pressure by the US will never work on China if the US take measures to further escalate the situation we will surely take countermeasures to firmly uphold our legitimate rights and interests," he said.
China has vowed to respond to any trade measures in kind and it has already imposed its own tariffs on $34 billion worth of American soybeans, pork, electric vehicles and other goods.
The administration's trade moves are aimed at forcing China to end what it calls unfair trade practices, including improperly obtaining American intellectual property.