President Donald Trump has decided to impose tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese goods, two people briefed on the decision said, one of the most severe economic restrictions ever imposed by a U.S. president.
An announcement is expected to come within days, the people said, speaking on the condition of anonymity.
The new tariffs would apply to more than 1,000 products, including smartphones, televisions, toys and a range of other products. These penalties could drive up the cost of a range of products ahead of the crucial holiday shopping season, though it's unclear how much.
Trump has ordered aides to set the tariffs on these products at 10 percent across a variety of consumer products, likely leading to higher prices for American consumers. These tariffs are paid by U.S. companies that import the products, though they often pass the costs along to U.S. consumers in the form of higher prices.
The U.S. imports roughly $500 billion in Chinese goods each year, and — combined with existing tariffs — these new penalties would cover half of all goods sent to the U.S. from China each year.
The 10 percent tariff is scaled back from Trump's initial plan, which was to impose 25 percent penalties on all of these imports. But the impact will still likely be felt by millions of American consumers.
A White House spokesman didn't immediately respond to a request for comment Saturday afternoon.
On Friday, White House spokeswoman Lindsay Walters said "the president has been clear that he and his administration will continue to take action to address China's unfair trade practices. We encourage China to address the long-standing concerns raised by the United States."
All of Trump's top advisers have been united in his effort to push China to change it economic practices, but they have been split on his tactics. Some have advocated a more cautious, diplomatic approach. But Trump has signaled that he believes only the threat of real economic pain will coerce Beijing into major changes. He has recently boasted that he believes China's economy is suffering because of his hard-charging style.
Trump has accused China of a number of unfair trade practices, and he has threatened to impose tariffs on all Chinese imports if changes aren't made. He wants China to buy more American products, open up to more U.S. investment and stop stealing U.S. intellectual property, among other things.
The tariffs come as a number of top White House advisers have been trying to de-escalate tensions between Trump and Chinese leader Xi Jinping. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin was planning to restart talks with Chinese leaders soon, but they have vowed to retaliate against any escalation of the trade battle between the two countries with punitive steps of their own, and Trump's move could further push Beijing to strike back.
Trump first imposed tariffs on roughly $50 billion in Chinese products, and the list mostly included industrial equipment to not directly impact consumers.
China responded by imposing tariffs on U.S. products like beef and soybeans, a response that spooked the U.S. agriculture industry and angered Trump and other White House officials. Trump responded this summer by ordering his advisers to come up with a list of $200 billion in other Chinese products to penalize, a package of products that includes many consumer products.
And two weeks ago he said he is preparing a third package of penalties on what he said would be $267 billion in additional items, a list that likely encompasses all remaining goods produced in China.