US President Donald Trump has days to decide whether to impose tariffs on nearly $US160 billion ($A235 billion) in Chinese consumer goods just weeks before Christmas, a move that could be unwelcome both at home and in China.
The White House's top economic and trade advisers, including Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, Larry Kudlow, Peter Navarro, and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin are expected to meet in coming days with Trump over the decision, one person briefed on the situation said.
There is still no clarity on what the decision will be.
The way the tariffs are written, the Trump administration has to act, or else they automatically go into effect, trade experts said.
"Unless USTR (the US Trade Representative) issues a notice of modification for these tariffs, they will take effect on December 15 as scheduled," said Tami Overby, senior director at McLarty Associates, a Washington-based trade consultant.
Kudlow, director of the White House's National Economic Council, said late Tuesday morning no decision had been made.
"The reality is those tariffs are still on the table ... and the president has indicated if the short strokes remaining in negotiations do not pan out to his liking that those tariffs could go back into place," Kudlow said at a Wall Street Journal conference.
The Trump administration said in August it would put 15 per cent tariffs on billions in Chinese-made consumer goods on December 15.
Known as the "4B" list of goods, those tariffs would hit video game consoles, computer monitors, Christmas decorations, toys and other items including clothing often given as gifts.
The White House has been deliberating for weeks whether or not to impose the tariffs, and said in early November they would likely be averted if a Phase One deal was reached.
Both sides have still not reached agreement on crucial parts of the deal.
These include the amount of US agricultural goods Beijing would agree to purchase and when the US would roll back other tariffs it imposed on Chinese goods, people briefed on the talks said.
If the White House does allow the tariffs to take effect, then the US-China deal talks are likely done for the remainder of Trump's term, the source said.
Australian Associated Press