By Steve Goldstein, MarketWatch
In a comment that moved financial markets, President Donald Trump on Monday said serious negotiations with China will begin after the U.S. received two “very good calls” from Beijing.
“China called last night our top trade people and said let’s get back to the table,” the president said after meeting Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi. “I have great respect for it.”
Trump said “we are going to start talking very seriously.” He says the Chinese want to make a deal and he thinks one will finally be reached. Trump says he’ll say more about China later Monday.
China’s foreign ministry meanwhile said it wasn’t aware of any such calls and that a U.S.-China decoupling will lead to market chaos, according to wire reports.
After the Dow Jones Industrial Average /zigman2/quotes/210598065/realtime DJIA -0.78% dropped 623 points on Friday, U.S. stock futures /zigman2/quotes/209948968/delayed ES00 -0.03% /zigman2/quotes/210407078/delayed YM00 +0.0069% were higher in the early hours of Monday morning.
The dollar rose against the Japanese yen /zigman2/quotes/210561789/realtime/sampled USDJPY +0.0197% . Europe stocks /zigman2/quotes/210597999/delayed DX:DAX -0.62% were a bit higher, with trading light with the U.K. market closed for a holiday.
A Chinese delegation had been expected to travel to Washington in September to continue talks and that remained the case even after Trump’s escalation following China’s tariff announcement last Friday.
After a breakdown in talks this spring, 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, and threatened to declare a national emergency to enforce it. Trump softened the threat Sunday, saying he would only consider it if China again responded with raising tariffs on American goods.
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 only regretted that he didn’t impose even higher tariffs on China.
<STRONG>— The Associated Press contributed to this report</STRONG>