The US on Sunday is all expected to hit billions of dollars worth of Chinese products with 15 per cent duties in the first of two rounds of new tariffs, a move that will further escalate the ongoing trade war between the two economic giants.

So far, Washington has imposed tariffs on some $250 billion of Chinese goods, while Beijing has retaliated with tariffs on $110 billion of US products, the BBC reported.

The first round of tariffs due to be introduced will target imports worth about $150 billion.

However, the Office of the US Trade Representative has not clarified the value of goods due to be hit with the first round of duties.

Earlier on Wednesday, the US Trade Representative’s office reaffirmed Trump’s plans to impose an additional 5 per cent tariff on a US$300 billion list of Chinese imports starting on Sept 1 and Dec 15.

Last Friday, Trump took to Twitter and announced the tariff increase, in response to Chinese retaliatory tariffs on US$75 billion worth of US goods, including crude oil.

“China’s most recent response of announcing a new tariff increase on US goods has shown that the current action being taken is no longer appropriate,” USTR said in the notice.

The Trump administration had previously planned to impose a 10 per cent tariff on these imports.

The dispute between the world’s two biggest economies in July 2018 boiled over into tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of each other’s goods and threatens to engulf all trade between the countries, putting global growth at risk.

USTR accuses China of “unfair acts, policies and practices,” including its retaliatory tariffs and “concrete steps to devalue its currency,” allegations denied by Beijing.

US President Donald Trump has repeatedly argued that China pays for tariffs, but many US companies have rebutted that claim.

More than 200 footwear firms – including Nike and Converse – said the new duties would add to existing tariffs of up to 67 per cent on some shoes, driving up costs for consumers by $4 billion each year, the BBC reported.

It said the incoming tariffs on footwear “will also mean these massive tax increases hit tens of millions of Americans when they purchase shoes during the holiday season”.

In addition to imposing new tariffs, the Trump administration also plans to raise the rates on existing duties from 25 per cent to 30 per cent on October 1.