White House officials have suggested throughout the week that talks with the Chinese could help resolve trade issues between the two countries.
Should they come to pass, the cumulative effect would be to impose heavy taxes on nearly a third of total U.S. imports from the Asian country. Exchanges in mainland China were shut Friday for a public holiday.
In an editorial published Friday, the Global Times, a party-controlled newspaper known for its nationalist tone, dismissed Trump's Thursday evening statement as a sort of presidential temper tantrum.
Financial markets, roiled for days by the trade fight and Trump's management of it, whipsawed again on the new threat.
The Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and other large oil producers led by Russian Federation have agreed to curtail their combined output by around 1.8-million barrels per day until the end of 2018 to smooth out bloated oil inventories. Industrial stocks like Caterpillar and Boeing were among the Dow's hardest hit, with shares of both companies declining more than 3%.
On March 23, Trump imposed massive trade tariffs amounting to United States dollars 60 billion on China, in an effort to stop the latter from stealing "intellectual property" from American companies.
Along with Navarro, Lighthizer, the U.S. Trade Representative, is also pushing for a more combative approach to toward China.
President Donald Trump upped the ante late Thursday with a threat to slap tariffs on a further $100 billion of Chinese exports.
Analysts said the spectre of these measures, along with the potential for further action such as limits on Chinese investment in the United States or U.S. investment in China, could drag on the "Made in China 2025" initiative.
In looking for retaliatory options beyond tariffs, economists said, Beijing can turn to its experience in punishing other countries it has had disputes with.
Last year, it squeezed the economy of South Korea, which had angered the Chinese government with the deployment of a U.S. missile defense system.
Trump announced in March that he plans to impose around $50 billion in trade tariffs on China in response to aggressive Chinese theft of American intellectual property and forced technology transfers.
United States officials have sought to downplay the threat of a broader trade dispute, saying a negotiated outcome is still possible, but economists warn that the tit-for-tat moves bear the hallmarks of a classic trade rift that could escalate.
The escalating trade confrontation between Washington and Beijing threatened to boil over after President Trump lashed out again and China called on the European Union to join the battle.
For Trump, the dispute runs the risk of blunting the economic benefits of his tax overhaul, which is at the center of congressional Republicans' case for voters to keep them in power in the 2018 mid-term elections.
The idea of a tariff is to push up the price of foreign goods to make the domestic alternative more attractive. Here's how we got to this point.
"Importantly, these threatened tariffs will be subject to negotiation, and therefore shouldn't be considered as final", the analysts wrote in a note to client.
What does it mean for businesses?. When ties between Beijing and Seoul chilled, Chinese tourism to South Korea plummeted and Made-in-South Korea products were shunned by consumers in China.
Last month, the Trump administration imposed tariffs of 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminum imports.