Another separate source with direct knowledge of the thinking by the administration said that tariffs, which are associated with a Section 301 investigation of intellectual property, under the U.S. Trade Act of 1974 that started previous year during August, could come soon.
Washington's move to target Chinese firms comes amid allegations of intellectual property theft.
A third source said the tariffs, associated with a "Section 301" intellectual property investigation under the 1974 US Trade Act that began in August a year ago, could come "in the very near future".
During the Cabinet meeting, US Trade Representative, Robert Lighthizer is reported to have presented a plan that would target a equivalent of Dollars 30 billion imports from China, Politico reported.
The White House spokeswoman declined to provide details about how the administration would like China to accomplish the surplus-cutting goal - whether increased purchases of US products such as soybeans or aircraft would suffice, or whether it wants China to make major changes to its industrial policies, cut subsidies to state-owned enterprises or further reduce steel and aluminum capacity.
In Beijing, the Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said that China-US trade relations should not be a zero-sum game and that the two countries should use "constructive" means to manage tension.
The move would punish Chinese tech companies for having United States companies give up their technology secrets in order to operate in China.
Higher tariffs on these products would "hurt American families", said Hun Quach, a trade lobbyist for the Retail Industry Leaders Association.
Galaxy S9 and S9
Owners of one of the covered devices will be able to make a Samsung Care appointment through the online booking tool. This won't help if you're using a budget Samsung phone, and it still means going to a third-party shop.
The White House recently urged the top economic adviser of Chinese President Xi Jinping to come up with a plan for reducing that number.
U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday fired Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, seen as a free-trade proponent, replacing him with the more hawkish former Central Intelligence Agency Director Mike Pompeo.
He warned of risks from "possible spillovers of the new trade measures announced by the US administration".
A senior Trump administration official told Reuters these steep tariffs against China are likely "in the very near future".
"He's serious about calling their hand on this, and my understanding is they are looking at a broad array of options to do that", Brady said.
The heightened possibility of a trade war and Tillerson's departure reduced investor risk appetite, even as US inflation data released on Tuesday showed an annual core inflation of 1.8 percent, which met expectations and would have likely increased risk appetite under a different political climate.
The United States is expected to invoke a national security exception to WTO rules in imposing import tariffs of 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminum announced by Trump last week.