Trump at G-7

President Donald Trump speaks during a press conference on the final day of the G-7 summit in Biarritz, France, on Monday.

BIARRITZ, France (AP) — President Donald Trump on Monday defended the way he is trying to squeeze a trade deal out of China, saying it’s what worked for him in business.

Trump was challenged on a negotiating style in which he praises Chinese President Xi Jinping one day and castigates him the next. Allies said his style is contributing to stability problems for them and other nations, a questioner noted at a press conference closing out Trump’s participation in the Group of Seven summit of leading industrial nations.

“Sorry, it’s the way I negotiate,” the president said.

He said layers of U.S. tariffs have hurt China so badly that it will have no choice but to make a trade deal with the United States.

His trade war has been blamed for a global economic slowdown and has sown fears of an economic recession in the U.S. Some of the leaders who spent the past three days meeting in the picturesque French seaside town of Biarritz urged Trump to bring the fight to a close.

French President Emmanuel Macron, the summit host who joined Trump at the beginning of the press conference, said the situation has created economic uncertainty and urged both sides to reach an agreement.

“What’s bad for the world economy is uncertainty,” Macron said, speaking in English. “The quicker an agreement is arrived at, the quicker that uncertainty will dissipate.”

Another ally, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, tried to sell the president on the value of free trade when they met over Saturday breakfast.

“We’re in favor of trade peace,” Johnson said.

Under pressure over the so-far fruitless negotiation, Trump said earlier Monday that his trade negotiators had been on the receiving end of two “very good calls” from China. He said it was a sign that China is serious about reaching a deal and that talks would begin soon.

The White House announced weeks ago that China’s negotiating team was expected in Washington in September to continue the discussions.

Trump expressed his optimism about a China deal hours after saying his only regret was that he didn’t impose even higher tariffs on China.

“I think we’re going to have a deal, because now we’re dealing on proper terms. They understand and we understand,” Trump said.

He declined to say whether he’s spoken to Xi or to identify those involved in the most recent conversations, saying only that they were at the “highest levels.”

“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,” Trump added.

“I have not heard of the weekend calls mentioned by the United States,” said Geng Shuang, a spokesman for China’s foreign ministry.

Trump frequently says he believes the Chinese want to make a deal more than he does.

After trade talks broke down this spring, Trump and Xi agreed in June to resume negotiations. Talks in Shanghai in July ended without any indication of progress, and the White House said at the time that Chinese negotiators would come to Washington in September.

Trump last week hiked tariffs on China after China taxed some U.S. imports in retaliation for a previous round of import tariffs levied by Trump.

Those moves sent U.S. stock markets stumbling. They closed broadly higher Monday after investors found reason to be cautiously optimistic again about the potential for progress in the trade war.

Trump also ordered U.S. corporations to find alternatives to doing business in China late last week and threatened to declare a national emergency to enforce it. He softened the threat Sunday, saying he would consider it only if China again responded with higher tariffs on American goods.

Trump’s takeaway message from the summit was that the seven nations’ leaders “got along great.” Other world leaders agreed.

Macron scrapped the annual practice of issuing a lengthy joint statement at the summit’s conclusion spelling out areas of consensus on issues.

Instead, the leaders issued a final “declaration” that began: “The G7 leaders wish to emphasize their great unity and the positive spirit of their debates.”

© 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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