Donald Trump tells G7 that China officials called to restart trade talks
BIARRITZ, France – President Donald Trump said Monday that Chinese officials called to restart talks amid an escalating trade war that sent markets spinning last week.
Speaking to reporters at the G-7 meeting of world leaders taking place in France, Trump said that U.S. officials had received two calls from China. The president declined to say whether he had spoken directly with Chinese President Xi Jinping.
“We’ve got two calls, very very good calls, very productive calls,” Trump told reporters. “They mean business.”
Trump made the remarks hours before markets opened in the U.S. Those markets plunged Friday after China raised retaliatory tariffs on $75 billion in American made products. Later Friday, Trump responded by raising tariffs on $550 billion in goods.
Trump said Friday he would raise from 25% to 30% U.S. tariffs on $250 billion in Chinese products and would increase from 10% to 15% new tariffs on a remaining $300 billion in goods – some of which are set to take effect next month.
“I have great respect for the fact that China called and they want to make a deal,” Trump said, during a G-7 meeting in which allies have pressured the U.S. to ease up on the trade war with China. “I have great respect for President Xi.”
Trump said he expects to have a further statement on China, noting a scheduled press conference later Monday. Chinese officials did not immediately confirm the calls.
But he declined to directly answer multiple questions about who called and what specifically was discussed.
“I don’t want to talk about calls. We’ve had calls. We’ve had calls at the highest levels,” the president said.
Pressed again by reporters Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said that “there were discussions that went back and forth.”
Trump said those calls took place Sunday night.