"Once you go down the road of using tariffs to disrupt the Chinese, you have to say 25% compared to 10%", Derek Scissors of the American Enterprise Institute, which advises the president, told the Wall Street Journal.
China is threatening to impose the tariffs on a wide range of products, including chemicals, plastics and leather goods, according to business groups representing those industries.
'We don't have anything to announce today about a specific event, or a specific round of discussions, but communication remains open and we are trying to figure out whether the conditions present themselves for a specific engagement between the two sides,' one of the officials said. The plan to more than double the tariff rate was first reported by Bloomberg News.
Threats have escalated since then with the U.S. saying it is ready to slap tariffs on all $500bn of Chinese imports in the US.
So far, the trade war appears to have hit China's economy and financial markets harder than the United States, which has given the administration confidence that it is escalating from a position of strength.
China's finance ministry unveiled new sets of additional tariffs on 5,207 goods imported from the United States, ranging from five to 25 per cent.
The U.S. was the biggest importer, with shipments rising by 8.9 percent to $25.5 billion.
The levies are in addition to the tariffs on $34 billion of imports that have already gone into effect and the $16 billion of tariffs announced but not yet implemented.
In retaliation, Beijing said it would also levy duties on an equal dollar amount worth of United States goods as well as increase regulation for American companies that are doing business in the country.
That led Trump to begin planning new tariffs on $200 billion in additional Chinese goods, triggering China's new plan to penalize imports on $60 billion in USA goods.
The $200 billion list of goods targeted for tariffs - which also include Chinese tilapia fish, printed circuit boards and lighting products - would have a bigger impact on consumers than previous rounds of tariffs.
"The increase in the possible rate of the additional duty is meant to provide the administration with additional options to encourage China to change its harmful policies and behavior and adopt policies that will lead to fairer markets and prosperity for all of our citizens", Lighthizer said in a statement. "Given the scope of the products covered, about half of all imports from China are facing tariffs, including consumer goods", Ennis said.
Economic expansions tend to be cyclical, and even within each expansion there are spurts of rapid growth followed by more sluggish intervals, so the administration can not count on the recent spurt to be sustained.Businesses are already starting to report widespread increases in input costs, in part as a result of steel and aluminium tariffs.
Beijing's earlier round of tariffs appeared created to minimize the impact on the Chinese economy by targeting soybeans, whiskey and other goods available from Brazil, Australia and other suppliers.
But Trump's tariffs have drawn criticism at home in the United States for driving up costs for consumers and companies that rely on Chinese imports.
The U.S. Trade Representative's Office initially had set a deadline for final public comments on the 10 percent proposed tariffs to be filed by August 30, with public hearings scheduled for August 20-23.
It has typically taken several weeks after the closing of public comments for tariffs to be formally activated.