Mr. Trump sees his administration as negotiating from a position of strength, founded on a rock-solid U.S. economy. Gross domestic product in the first quarter rebounded from the end of 2018, with growth clocking in at a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 3.2%, up from 2.2% the prior quarter.
The jobs report for April, released on Friday, showed the U.S. economy adding a robust 263,000 jobs in April and the unemployment rate falling to 3.6%, the lowest in nearly 50 years.
Those results have even some of Mr. Trump’s staunchest critics, including Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer of New York, supporting the president’s hard line on China.
Lighthizer said he plans to publish the required Federal Register notice as soon as Thursday, formally setting in motion the increase, which would take effect Friday. In response to a question about the effect of a sudden tariff jump on American companies that have goods en route from China, Lighthizer said companies had received adequate warning of the import levies over months of trade talks.