The Trump administration is expected to tax nearly $50 billion worth of Chinese exports, as per media reports. An official announcement is expected on Friday as per CNN.
Trump's approval came after a meeting on Thursday with top economic officials, including Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, the source added.
Trump has been escalating trade tensions globally, and a fight with the second largest economy may do more harm than good. He has also picked fights with allies Canada, Mexico and the European Union over steel and aluminium.
In response to the development, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang reiterated that Beijing would not honour its pledge to increase purchases of US goods if tariffs were imposed. Beijing previously said it would respond to American tariffs on $50 billion worth of Chinese exports with retaliatory tariffs on $50 billion of US products such as cars, planes and soybeans.
The US President has been constantly threatening China with tariffs as a punishment for intellectual property theft. In March, he first announced plans to impose trade penalties on Chinese goods and following a Chinese response that they would do the same, Trump threatened tariffs on a further $100 billion of Chinese products.
In mid-May, both sides announced a ceasefire after two rounds of trade negotiations, CNN reported. The countries said in a joint statement that China would "significantly increase" purchases of US agricultural and energy products to reduce the trade imbalance, a top Trump administration demand.
Mnuchin subsequently declared the trade war "on hold". Ten days later, the White House abruptly said it would proceed with the tariffs, along with new limits on Chinese investments in the US. A further round of trade talks in Beijing earlier this month failed to yield any breakthroughs.
Last week, IMF Chief Christine Lagarde warned of a 'darker global economy' if Trump's trade practices were allowed to continue, but the US President has set his eyes on restoring US' local industries.