Trump Says Serious Trade Talks with Beijing Will Begin Soon

President Donald Trump said Monday that the U.S. and China are set to kick off serious trade negotiations very soon, comments that came shortly after it was suggested that the global economic slowdown was partially happening due to the full-blown trade war between the two countries.

The President noted Monday that his trade negotiators had spoken with China on Sunday and that the calls indicated Beijing was ready to make a deal.

Over the weekend, Trump signaled regret over raising tariffs on Chinese imports, but the White House said later that he only regretted not slapping China with even higher levies.

“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.”

However, the President did not say who was involved in the talks and whether he was directly communicating with his Chinese counterpart on the issue. Trump merely said the two sides will begin “talking very seriously.”

A delegation from China is due to travel to the United States in September, where they are to discuss trade and a possible resolution to the war. Trump’s comments may have referred to that scheduled meeting, but that remained unclear.

Allies who also attended the Group of 7 summit in France pushed Trump over the weekend to deescalate the ongoing trade war with China.

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, who was invited to the summit by France’s Emmanuel Macron, made a surprise visit at the summit Sunday, but Trump claimed that Macron had asked for his “approval” before extending the invitation.

“I spoke to President Macron yesterday and I knew everything he was doing and I approved whatever he was doing and I thought it was fine,” Trump said of the Zarif talks.

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