WASHINGTON - The Trump administration plans to propose slapping a 25-per cent tariff on $200 billion (S$272 billion) of imported Chinese goods after initially setting them at 10 per cent, a source familiar with the plan said on Tuesday.
President Donald Trump's administration said on July 10 it would seek to impose the 10-per cent tariffs on thousands of Chinese imports.
They include food products, chemicals, steel and aluminium and consumer goods ranging from dog food, furniture and carpets to car tires, bicycles, baseball gloves and beauty products.
While the tariffs would not be imposed until after a period of public comment, raising the proposed level to 25 per cent could escalate the trade dispute between the world's two biggest economies.
The source said the administration could announce the tougher proposal as early as Wednesday.
There was no immediate reaction from the Chinese government. In July it accused the United States of bullying and warned it would hit back.
Investors fear an escalating trade war between Washington and Beijing could hit global growth, and prominent US business groups have condemned Trump's aggressive tariffs.
A spokeswoman for the US Trade Representative's Office declined to comment on the proposed tariff rate increase or on whether changing them would alter the deadlines laid out for comment period before implementation.
In early July, the US government imposed 25-per cent tariffs on an initial $34 billion of Chinese imports. Beijing retaliated with matching tariffs on the same amount of US exports to China.
Washington might also impose tariffs on an extra $16 billion of goods in coming weeks, and Trump has warned he may ultimately put them on over half a billion dollars of goods - roughly the total amount of US imports from China last year.