U.S. President Donald Trump Thursday said he has asked the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) to consider slapping 100 billion U.S. dollars of additional tariffs on China, ratcheting up trade tensions and plunging economic growth into uncertainty.
"In light of China's unfair retaliation, I have instructed the USTR to consider whether $100 billion of additional tariffs would be appropriate under section 301 and, if so, to identify the products upon which to impose such tariffs," he said in a statement issued by the White House.
Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974 gives the U.S. Government rule-making authority, enabling it to enforce trade agreements and resolve trade disputes.
Thursday's gesture is the latest protectionist trade action threat against China. Earlier this week, the USTR proposed to impose an additional 25 percent tariff on 50 billion dollars of imports from China, which has been strongly opposed by various business groups.
China on Wednesday unveiled a list of products worth of 50 billion dollars imported from the United States that will be subject to higher tariffs.
Any additional tariffs proposed will be subject to a public comment process like in the case of the proposed tariffs announced on April 3, a USTR statement on Thursday said.