On Monday, Donald Trump praised Chinese President Xi Jinping claiming that he had reached out to Washington “twice” to resume talks and “make a deal” to end Trump‘s spiraling trade war.
Trump made the comments from France while attending the G-7 Summit. The six other world leaders that attended the event were all gravely concerned about the trade war that Trump had created that was escalating into a major disaster.
Trump did not state if he spoke to his Chinese counterpart personally. Chinese officials have denied any knowledge of any type of phone calls to the United States over the weekend or even in the past few days.
“I think we’re going to have a deal because now we’re dealing on proper terms. They understand and we understand,” Trump said. “Very big things are happening with China.”
Trump announced on Friday that his administration would boost tariffs on $550 billion in Chinese imports later this year in retaliation for China’s decision to hike trade levies on $75 billion in U.S. products. The move deepened a trade war that has affected economies across the globe and could very well lead to a recession.
Trump called President Xi a “great leader” for understanding “how life works,” as he claimed Chinese officials had “called last night our top trade people and said let’s get back to the table.”
“I have great respect for it,” Trump said. “This is a very positive development for the world… They want to make a deal. That’s a great thing.”
Trump suggested on Sunday that he had misgivings about the hard-line he was taking in the mounting war with China. Later Trump’s aides insisted that by “second thoughts” he meant only about imposing harsher tariffs.
Beijing did not confirm any weekend phone calls and a Foreign Ministry representative stated he was also unaware of any such phone conversations.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said China “firmly opposed any new U.S. tariffs and would take more steps to protect its interests if they were enacted as threatened.”
Geng went on to accuse the Trump administration of “trampling on multilateral trade rules, damaging the interests of China and the United States, threatening the security of the global industrial supply chain, and dragging down international trade and world economic growth” with the latest announcement of a tariff hike.
“We have noticed that the U.S.’s escalations of trade frictions have caused widespread concern from all walks of life in the United States and the international community. We hope that the U.S. can return to rationality as soon as possible, give up wrong practices, and create conditions for the two sides to conduct consultations on the basis of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit,” Geng said.
After Geng’s denial that any phone calls took place, reporters pressed Trump about his claims. Trump insisted the calls had taken place “last night, and before last night.” He went on to claim that they had been “numerous,” and suggested the Chinese were eager to resume talks as the pressure his administration was putting on China’s economy meant “they’ve lost millions of jobs.”
“They lost 3 million jobs in a short period of time,” Trump claimed. “A lot of companies have left China.”
Trump was asked if his goal was to drive business out of China, Trump stated it was, “if we don’t make a deal.”
Trump stated that he would have a further statement on China soon.
On Friday, Trump stated that “U.S. tariffs on $250 billion in Chinese imports would increase from 25% to 30% on October 1. An additional $300 billion in Chinese goods would be taxed at 15%, instead of 10%, starting on September 1.”
On Sunday, Larry Kudlow, the White House’s top economic adviser, was asked if the Trump administration was escalating or de-escalating the trade dispute with China. He stated that “nothing had changed.”