Biarritz (France) – U.S. President Donald Trump sounded upbeat on Monday on the prospect of striking a trade deal with China, saying the sides were talking again and proper negotiations would begin “very shortly”.
The U.S. president said on the sidelines of the G7 summit in Biarritz, France that Beijing initiated two calls over the weekend.
“They mean business. This is the first time I see them when they really want to make a deal. And that is a really positive step,” Trump said.
He said the U.S. was in a stronger position to close “a fair deal for everybody”.
The president said that China was more interested in a deal now, as the trade war was hurting Beijing.
However, data is showing the U.S. too may be facing a slowdown.
A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman in Beijing said, however, that he was not aware of the calls Trump mentioned.
Earlier, Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, who leads the trade negotiations, called on the two sides to solve their problems “through consultation and cooperation with a calm attitude”.
Liu said that China welcomed enterprises from around the world, including the U.S., to invest and operate in the world’s second-largest economy.
The statements come after the weekend saw a fiery escalation in the U.S.-China trade war.
Trump on Friday called on U.S. companies to leave China and threatened to increase tariffs on 550 billion dollars’ worth of Chinese goods in response to China’s announcement of additional retaliatory tariffs on 75 billion dollars’ worth of U.S. imports.
Markets had reacted negatively to yet another escalation in the trade war.