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U.S. President Donald Trump's administration is proposing a tariff rate increase on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods to 25 percent from 10 percent as the two countries continue conversations to determine whether trade talks can be resumed, senior Trump administration officials said on Wednesday. But President Donald Trump now wants U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to consider more than doubling those tariffs to 25 percent.

Trump's threats of higher tariffs weighed on China's financial markets.

U.S. trade representative Robert Lighthizer had said on Wednesday that he had secured the green signal from Trump to consider raising the tariffs from the earlier planned 10% to 25% under an ongoing Section 301 targeting Chinese goods on grounds of alleged theft and forced transfer of technologies from USA companies. The two governments have raised tariffs on billions of dollars of each other's goods over complaints Beijing steals or pressures foreign companies to hand over technology.

Trump has said in the past that "Trade wars are good and easy to win". 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.

China announced Friday it will put tariffs on $60 billion of US imports if the USA moves forward with 25% tariffs on $200 billion goods.

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The tariffs would affect food, chemicals, steel and aluminum and consumer goods ranging from dog food, furniture and carpets to vehicle tires, bicycles, baseball gloves and beauty products. "25 percent on $200 billion, if it comes to pass, is $50 billion a year", Ross said of the proposed hike in tariffs in an interview with Fox Business News, adding that the impact would not "be cataclysmic".

Investors fear an escalating trade war between Washington and Beijing could hit global growth, and prominent United States business groups, while tired of what they see as China's mercantilist trade practices, have condemned Mr Trump's aggressive tariffs.

The dispute is part of broader US complaints about global trading conditions that have prompted Trump to raise duties on steel, aluminum, washing machines or solar panels from Canada, Europe, Japan and South Korea.

USA threats have escalated since, with the President saying he is ready to impose tariffs on all $500bn of Chinese imports. China imported only about $130 billion in products from the US a year ago.

The U.S. imported $505 billion worth of Chinese goods in 2017 while China imported $130 billion worth of American products, according to the Commerce Department.

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Geng said China's door to dialogue on the trade dispute is open, but that it had to be based on mutual respect and equality. "This has gone on for long enough and he's gonna do something about it".

Further roiling the trade debate is the falling value of the Chinese currency, which makes its exports cheaper around the world.

Administration officials at the time said the tariff fight was aimed at forcing China to stop stealing American intellectual property and to abandon policies that effectively force US companies to surrender their trade secrets in return for access to the Chinese market.

But what exactly prompted Trump to push for the sharp reset in Chinese tariffs?

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