U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said his agency is seeking comments from industry about the proposed tariffs, with a deadline of September 5. At a campaign rally in Florida Tuesday night, Mr. Trump said China's response targeting USA farmers has been "not nice".
Donald Trump might be about to heat up his trade spat with Beijing.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told a daily news briefing in Beijing that US pressure on trade won't work, and that Beijing has always upheld using dialogue to resolve trade issues.
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In early July, the USA government imposed 25 per cent tariffs on an initial $34 billion of Chinese imports.
Holding an open door to talks while threatening worse consequences represents yet another increase in tension in the months-long standoff between the world's two largest economies over trade.
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.
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On July 10, Washington unveiled a list of another $200 billion in Chinese goods, from areas as varied as electrical machinery, leather goods and seafood, that would be hit with 10 percent import duties.
Investors fear an escalating trade war between Washington and Beijing could hit global economic growth, and prominent United States business groups, while tired of what they see as China's mercantilist trade practices, have condemned Trump's aggressive tariffs.
China appears to have stripped back its imports of USA crude oil to near zero for September, having taken about 333,000 barrels per day in the first six months of the year, according to vessel-tracking data.
China said Friday it is poised to impose retaliatory tariffs on $60 billion worth of US imports, including coffee, honey and industrial chemicals, if Washington goes ahead with its latest trade threat. China immediately responded with its own tariffs on United States goods worth $34 billion. "This won't work on China", Geng said. U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said his department will continue its investigation but will hold off on new auto tariffs while negotiations are ongoing.
The officials told reporters on a background call that Trump had directed U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to consider the higher tariff rate as part efforts to ensure that it has "the right tools in place in order to encourage China to change its actions".
Lighthizer published a list of the $200 billion in products that would face the 10 percent tariff threshold several weeks ago. "The cost increases will be passed on to customers, so it will affect most Americans pocketbooks".
The US Trade Representative's office initially had set a deadline for final public comments on the 10 per cent proposed tariffs to be filed by August 30, with public hearings scheduled for Aug.20-23. The government will seek public comment on the higher tariffs.