The possible change in tariff rate will alter a public comment period for the proposed tariffs on $200 billion worth of goods ranging from Chinese tilapia fish to furniture and lighting products, extending a comment deadline to September 5 from a previously announced deadline of August 30, the officials said.
Trump has accused China of stealing US intellectual property, manipulating its own currency and taking other steps that give its firms an unfair competitive advantage over USA companies.
A second round of tariffs on products worth $16 billion could take effect as soon as this week, CNN reported.
Whether or not the duties ultimately go into effect, the uncertainty is already creating turmoil for several businesses as they weigh their options for sourcing and production, with some scrambling to import goods before next month.
Part of the strategy seems to be to intensify the pressure on China quickly through rapid escalation in the hope it will force an early restart of negotiations on advantageous terms and permit de-escalation quickly, before the economic damage becomes too great.
"Certainly, we would like to see the playing field leveled", White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said in a briefing on Wednesday.
Retaliatory tariffs were necessary, China says, to "defend the dignity of the country and interests of its people" as well as "the mutual interest of all the countries in the world".
China's imports from the United States a year ago totaled $153.9 billion.
Trump initially proposed 10 per cent tariffs on an additional $200 billion of Chinese imports, but he told trade officials this week to consider raising that to 25 per cent.
General Electric (GE.N) estimated the new tariffs on its imports from China could raise its costs by $300 million to $400 million overall, before steps to lessen the impact while General Motors Co (GM.N), Ford Motor Co (F.N) and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV (FCHA.MI) (FCAU.N) have lowered their full-year profit forecasts.
That reflected American frustration that Beijing retaliated by raising its own duties on USA imports in response to tariff hikes on Chinese goods over complaints the communist government steals or pressures companies to hand over technology. Those tariffs have already started to affect some businesses, though only a small fraction of the US economy is experiencing consequences. -China imbroglio may follow a similar pattern of months of mainly rhetoric and skirmishes before an eruption into a serious economic event.
- United States dollars rises as White House ups ante in US-China trade spat.
"I think that China will actually feel more pain" than the U.S., Zarit said last month. South Korea's exports showed slower-than-expected growth. But. the Chinese Party and the government control the media as well as a good bit of the economy. "This has gone on for long enough and he's going to do something about it".
There have been no formal talks between Washington and Beijing for weeks over Trump's demands that China make fundamental changes to its policies on intellectual property protection, technology transfers and subsidies for high technology industries.
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