BIARRITZ, France (AP) — President Donald Trump, under pressure to scale back a U.S.-China trade war partly blamed for a global economic slowdown, said Monday that the two sides will begin serious negotiations soon.
Trump said his trade negotiators had received two “very good calls” from China. He did not say when the calls were made and he declined to say whether he is in direct contact with President Xi Jinping.
Trump said the conversations were a sign that China is serious about making a deal following the latest tit-for-tat tariffs between them.
“I think we’re going to have a deal, because now we’re dealing on proper terms. They understand and we understand,” Trump said as he met with Egypt’s president on the sidelines of the Group of Seven summit in France.
“This is the first time I’ve seen them where they really want to make a deal. And I think that’s a very positive step,” Trump said.
The president said he’ll say more about China later Monday.
There was no immediate comment from the Chinese.
Trump and Xi agreed in June to resume negotiations. But talks in Shanghai in July ended with no indication of progress. Negotiators talked by phone this month and are due to meet again in Washington next month.
Trump last week hiked tariffs on China after China taxed some U.S. imports in retaliation for a previous round of imports levied by Trump.
Trump also “ordered” U.S. corporations to find alternatives to doing business in China.
On Sunday, Trump seemed to express regret over the escalating trade war, which some analysts blame for signs of weakness in the U.S. and global economy.
But the White House later said Trump’s only regret was that he didn’t impose even higher tariffs on China.