On Monday, President Trump warned, in a statement announcing his move, if China retaliates against US farmers or other industries, Washington "will immediately pursue phase three, which is tariffs on approximately $267 billion in additional imports".
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang warned the day before the tariffs were announced: "If the U.S. imposes any additional tariffs on China, we will have to take necessary countermeasures and resolutely safeguard our legitimate and legal rights and interests".
So far, the United States has imposed tariffs on US$50 billion worth of Chinese products to pressure Beijing to make sweeping changes to its trade, technology transfer and high-tech industrial subsidy policies.
However, if Trump expands the tariffs to an additional $267 billion worth of goods then almost every Chinese import would be affected, including the iPhone, along with all other smart phones.
But a senior Trump administration official said Monday that, while it seeks changes in China's trade policies, the U.S.is "not trying to constrain China's growth".
In a statement Trump said the tariffs were the result of an investigation which found China had engaged in unfair trade and intellectual property practices for many years.
"The additional $267 billion in tariffs is expected to cover all Chinese imports to the United States".
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross defended the new tariffs in an interview with CNBC, noting that China was "out of bullets" in the ongoing trade battle.
American and European businesses operating in China say that if Washington presses ahead with more and more tariffs, it is likely to only add to the challenges businesses are already facing.
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USA trade officials held public hearings in late August on the proposed escalation, hearing from dozens of American businesses hoping to be exempted.
White House trade adviser Peter Navarro discusses the trade negotiations between the US and China.
"The US insists on increasing tariffs, which brings new uncertainty to the consultations between the two sides".
Last week, the American Chambers of Commerce in China and in Shanghai reported 52 percent of more than 430 companies that responded to a survey said they have faced slower customs clearance and increased inspections and bureaucratic procedures.
Beijing has retaliated in kind, but some analysts and American businesses are concerned it could resort to other measures such as pressuring USA companies operating in China.
Smart watches and Bluetooth devices were removed from the tariff list, along with bicycle helmets, high chairs, children's vehicle seats, playpens and certain industrial chemicals.
In theory, the tariffs will make US-made products cheaper than imported ones, and so encourage consumers to buy American.
Amid continued trade tensions with the world's second largest economy, Trump "has not been satisfied with the talks with China on this (and) my guess is announcements will be coming soon", economic advisor Larry Kudlow said earlier Monday on CNBC. The policy is apparently meant to make domestic production in the USA more competitive, compared to foreign manufacturers.
People who claimed that imposing trade tariffs on China would not hurt the US economy were "fooling themselves", Susan Schwab, who served as the US Trade Representative in the administration of former US President George W. Bush, told an event hosted by the Centre for Strategic and International Studies on Monday.