President Donald Trump has dramatically increased pressure on China to reach a trade deal by announcing he would increase US tariffs on $200bn worth of Chinese goods this week and target hundreds of billions more soon.
The move, announced on Sunday, marked a major escalation in trade tensions between the world's two largest economies and a shift in tone from Trump, who cited progress in talks as recently as Friday.
The Wall Street Journal reported that China was considering cancelling this week's trade talks in Washington in light of Trump's comments that took Chinese officials by surprise.
A roughly 100-member Chinese delegation had been expected to accompany Vice Premier Liu He for the talks, according to a Trump administration official.
Trump said tariffs on $200bn of goods would increase to 25% on Friday from 10%, reversing a decision he had made in February after progress between the two sides.
The president also said he would target a further $325bn of Chinese goods with 25% tariffs "shortly", essentially targeting all products imported to the US from China.
Tariffs on Chinese goods are actually paid to the US by the companies importing the goods. Most of those companies are US-based. American businesses while largely supportive of Trump's crackdown on China's trade practices, are eager for the tariffs to be lifted, not increased and expanded.
Christin Fernandez, a spokesperson for the Retail Industry Leaders Association said, "Raising tariffs means raising taxes on millions of American families and inviting further retaliation on American farmers”.
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