Trump administration ups ante in trade fight with China

WASHINGTON - The Trump administration is proposing raising planned taxes on $200 billion in Chinese imports to 25 percent from 10 percent, potentially ratcheting up a trade war with China. 

The U.S. has already imposed 25 percent tariffs on $34 billion in Chinese imports and is readying 25 percent tariffs on another $16 billion worth to punish China for allegedly using predatory tactics to obtain U.S. technology. The Chinese have retaliated in kind.

Last month, the U.S. proposed 10 percent tariffs on another $200 billion in Chinese products, a response to China's retaliation. But President Donald Trump now wants the U.S. Trade Representative to consider more than doubling those tariffs to 25 percent.

The government will seek public comment on the idea.

With the U.S. agriculture sector at risk of a trade war with China, the Trump administration last week proposed a $12 billion emergency aid package for farmers affected by Chinese tariffs on their crops.

President Donald Trump is also considering slapping auto tariffs on imported vehicles and parts. 

Although economists, as well as the World Trade Organization, warn that escalating tit-for-tat tariffs involving the world's two largest economies could hurt global growth, so far the conflict has done little to slow the U.S. or boost prices for American consumers. 

The Federal Reserve on Wednesday said that U.S. economic growth is "strong," although officials didn't weigh in on the potential impact of trade strife on growth. 

Financial markets have also mostly shrugged off such concerns.