The United States President Donald Trump is all set to announce tariffs on Chinese imports on Thursday, a White House official said.
"The president will announce the actions he has decided to take based on USTR's 301 investigation into China's state-led, market-distorting efforts to force, pressure, and steal U.S. technologies and intellectual property," the official told local reporters.
Donald Trump is preparing to impose a package of USD 60 billion in annual tariffs against China, following through on a long-time threat, which according to him will punish China for intellectual property infringement and help create more American jobs.
According to The Washington Post, senior aides had presented Trump with a USD 30 billion tariff package that would apply to a range of products.
But Trump directed them to roughly double the scope of the new trade levies.
The package could be applied to more than 100 products, which Trump argued were developed by using trade secrets the Chinese stole from the U.S. companies or forced them to hand over in exchange for market access.
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on Tuesday had said that China did not want to enter into a trade war with the United States, adding that the war would only damage the relationship between the two sides.
He further said that there will be no winner from any trade war between China and the United States, and that he hopes both sides can remain "calm".
It is interesting to note that China is also the largest foreign holder of the U.S. government debt.
It holds USD 1.17 trillion of U.S. Treasury securities, down about USD 33.5 billion since August last year.
The Treasury faces huge borrowing needs, not only to finance new deficits but also to refinance past securities coming due, so a drop in China's appetite for that debt could nudge interest rates up in the United States.
If implemented, the tariff package could draw retaliation from China, further fraying the trade partnership between two of the world's largest economies.
But experts also noted that China would not want to hurt the value of the huge amount of securities it still holds, leaving the two nations' finances somewhat mutually dependent.