USA may raise tariffs on US$200b in Chinese goods to 25%

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The highest penalties on the new list would be imposed on honey, vegetables, mushrooms and chemicals, targeting farming and mining areas that supported President Donald Trump in the 2016 election.

It's the same story for liquefied natural gas (LNG), with only one USA cargo booked for arrival in August, and it departed the Gulf of Mexico on July 1, before much of the current escalation in the trade dispute.

Trump campaigned on a promise to bring down America's massive trade deficits by renegotiating trade agreements and getting tough on countries like China that sell the US far more than they buy from it.

Washington touted its initial tariffs as being carefully constructed to avoid having a big impact on USA consumers and companies, but the expansion of the tariff lists has drawn in more goods that can not be imported from outside China.

Lighthizer said the administration is taking the step after China has "illegally retaliated" against American workers and farmers instead of changing its trade practices.

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That fell apart shortly after it was announced by USA officials and amid acrimony in the negotiating team sent to Beijing due to disagreements over the concessions that would be made to China. "It remains unchanged. The blackmailing and pressure by the United States will never work on China if the USA take measures to further escalate the situation we will surely take countermeasures to firmly uphold our legitimate rights and interests".

"If we're going to use tariffs, this gives us more flexibility and it's a more meaningful threat", he said, adding that Trump's pressure strategy will not work if he does not resolve trade disputes with USA allies such as the European Union, Mexico and Canada.

"Given the scope of the products covered, about half of all imports from China are facing tariffs, including consumer goods", Ennis said.

This is down nearly 16 percent from the June peak, a period that coincides with the ramping up of tariffs by the United States, coupled with increasingly bellicose rhetoric.

China upholds the use of dialogue to resolve disputes but equal treatment and keeping to promises are pre-requisites for dialogue, it said in a statement. Threat of a global trade war "will likely lead to elevated volatility, if not a renewed threat to the market's attempt to set a new high", says CFRA chief strategist Sam Stovall.

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Wang Yi said at a forum in Singapore that a US campaign to ratchet up pressure on Beijing will not "have any effect", Reuters reported. Beijing retaliated by imposing similar charges on the same amount of US products.

U.S. President Donald Trump's administration imposed 25 per cent tariffs on $34 billion in Chinese goods July 6 and sources say more penalties could come.

A second round of tariffs on products worth $16 billion could take effect as soon as this week.

Complicating Mnuchin's efforts is a harder line taken by Lighthizer, who has jurisdiction over the U.S.'s 301 investigation that sparked the tariffs.

"China and the US have had several rounds of consultations and reached important consensus, but regrettably the USA did not fulfill its obligations", Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Monday.

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Washington and Beijing are locked in battle over American accusations that China's export economy benefits from unfair policies and subsidies, as well as theft of American technological know-how. Previously, the administration was considering just a 10% tariff on these goods.

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