Washington: US President Donald Trump on Friday said that the latest tariffs levied on Chinese goods by his administration "may or may not be removed" depending on the outcome of trade talks, escalating the trade dispute between the two countries.
However, he said that his relationship with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping remained "very strong."
"Over the course of the past two days, the United States and China have held candid and constructive conversations on the status of the trade relationship between both countries. The relationship between President Xi and myself remains a very strong one, and conversation into the future will continue," Trump wrote on his Twitter handle.
"In the meantime, the United States has imposed Tariffs on China, which may or may not be removed depending on what happens with respect to future negotiations!" he added.
Trump's tweets came after his administration raised tariffs on 200 billion dollars worth of Chinese imports from 10 to 25 per cent, a move which has infuriated Beijing, saying it would retaliate.
The US' decision to proceed with the fresh tariff hike came after a pivotal round of trade talks in Washington on Thursday night failed to produce an agreement to forestall the higher levies.
The renewed brinkmanship has plunged the world's two largest economies back into a trade war that had seemed on the cusp of ending.
Both the US and China are trying to negotiate a way out of the trade dispute which is ongoing since last year.
Meanwhile, US Trade Representative (USTR) Robert Lighthizer said that Trump ordered the agency to start the process of raising tariffs on all remaining imports from China.
"Earlier today, at the direction of the President, the United States increased the level of tariffs from 10 per cent to 25 per cent on approximately $200 billion worth of Chinese imports. The President also ordered us to begin the process of raising tariffs on essentially all remaining imports from China, which are valued at approximately $300 billion," Lightizer said in a statement.
"The process for public notice and comment will be published shortly in the Federal Register. The details will be on the USTR website on Monday (May 13) as we begin the process prior to a final decision on these tariffs," he added.