Trump threatens China with tariffs on $US300 billion worth of goods

New York: The Trump administration has started the official process to impose tariffs on Chinese goods worth an additional US$300 billion ($432 billion), a move that would dramatically escalate its trade war with China and lead to significant price rises for ordinary Americans.

The proposed new 25 per cent tariff announced on Monday, local time, would mean that virtually all Chinese goods imported into the US would now be covered by tariffs.

The decision followed an announcement earlier in the day that China would impose tariffs on $60 billion worth of US imports following a separate tariff hike imposed by the US last week.

While earlier rounds of US tariffs focussed on industrial goods, the new tranche of tariffs would cover regular consumer goods such as telephones, televisions, clothes, toys, nappies and cutlery.

US President Donald Trump has deepened his trade war with China by announcing potential tariffs on another US$300 billion worth of imports. Credit:AP

The only proposed exemptions are for pharmaceuticals, certain medical goods and some types of minerals.

United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said that public hearings about the proposed tariffs would be held on June 17, meaning they may not come into effect if the US and China strike a trade deal before then.

The announcement was criticised by the National Retail Federation, which said "the latest tariff escalation is far too great a gamble for the US economy".

"Taxing Americans on everyday products like clothes and shoes is not the answer for holding China accountable," chief executive Matthew Shay said in a statement.

More to come

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