US President Donald Trump is now considering a 25 percent tariff on US$200 billion in Chinese imports, rather than the 10 percent previously touted, reports said Tuesday.

The US imposed tariffs of 25 percent on US$34 billion of Chinese products earlier this month, with plans to add another US$16 billion of imports on Tuesday.

Donald Trump. File photo: White House.

Trump initially threatened to levy 10 percent on an additional US$200 billion but that figure may now rise to 25 percent, sources told the Washington Post and Bloomberg.

It would represent a ramping up of pressure over Washington’s trade standoff with Beijing.

In Beijing Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said Wednesday that “blackmail and pressure from the US side will never work on China”.

Geng Shuang.

“If the US takes measures to further escalate this situation, we will surely take counter-measures to firmly uphold our legitimate rights and interests,” he told a regular briefing.

In 2017 the United States had a US$376 billion trade deficit with China, which it is keen to reduce.

Trump recently threatened to slap punitive tariffs on all Chinese exports to the US, which amounted to more than US$500 billion last year.

AFP is a global news agency delivering fast, in-depth coverage of the events shaping our world from wars and conflicts to politics, sports, entertainment and the latest breakthroughs in health, science and technology.