US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross underlined that US President Donald Trump thinks it may be time to put more economic pressure on China to force Beijing to change its trade strategy.
"The reason for the tariffs to begin with was to convince the Chinese to modify their behavior. Instead they've been retaliating. So the president now feels that it's potentially time to put more pressure on in order to modify their behavior," Ross said in an interview with Fox Business News.
He added that possible tariffs on Chinese imports would "not be cataclysmic."
Earlier on Thursday the Chinese Commerce Ministry said in a statement that it was absolutely ready to respond to US threats of higher tariffs, and would take necessary countermeasures to defend its country's interests.
Lighthizer added that the Trump administration continues to urge China to stop its unfair trade practices and regrets it has chosen to illegally retaliate against US farmers, workers, ranchers and businesses.
On July 6, the increased tariffs between the United States and China came into effect. The United States imposed 25 percent tariffs on Chinese imports worth $34 billion. China, in turn, responded by introducing 25 percent duties on the same amount of US goods.