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Chinese markets tumble amid trade war with US; Beijing again says it's willing to negotiate

'I think they want to do something'

Thomas Peter-Pool/Getty Images

President Donald Trump's decision to escalate the trade war with China last week has led to a positive response from Beijing.

Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, the communist country's top trade negotiator, said Monday that China is willing to resolve trade tensions with the U.S. through "calm" negotiations, Reuters reported, citing Chinese state media.

"We believe that the escalation of the trade war is not beneficial for China, the United States, nor to the interests of the people of the world," Liu said, according to Reuters.

China's re-statement of its willingness to de-escalate the trade war comes on the heels of a brutal day for Chinese investors, which saw Chinese equity markets plummet and the yuan crash to an 11-year low.

The trade war escalated last week after China unveiled new tariffs on $75 billion worth of U.S. products. Just hours later, Trump responded with retaliatory tariffs.

Today, China announced it will impose unjustified tariffs targeting U.S. products. In response to China's decision, and in order to achieve the objectives of the China Section 301 investigation, President Trump has instructed the United States Trade Representative (USTR) to increase by 5% the tariffs on approximately $550 billion worth of Chinese imports. For the 25% tariffs on approximately $250 billion worth of Chinese imports, USTR will begin the process of increasing the tariff rate to 30%, effective October 1 following a notice and comment period. For the 10% tariffs on approximately $300 billion worth of Chinese imports that the President announced earlier this month, the tariffs will now be 15%, effective on the already scheduled dates for tariff increases on these imports.

Controversially, Trump also ordered American corporations to search for alternative locations to conduct their business.

However, by Monday, Trump had changed his tune, praising Chinese President Xi Jinping and China's willingness to negotiate trade deals.

"China called last night our top trade people and said 'Let's get back to the table', so we'll be getting back to the table, and I think they want to do something," Trump said at the G7 Summit in France on Monday, Reuters reported.

"They want calm, and that's a great thing, frankly. And one of the reasons that he's a great leader, President Xi, and one of the reasons that China's a great country is they understand how life works," the president added.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said over the weekend, "If China would agree to a fair and balanced relationship, we would sign that deal in a second."

China has previously expressed willingness to resolve the trade dispute. In May, Liu traveled to Washington, D.C., for two days of negotiations. However, the meeting ended without a resolution.

Meanwhile, U.S. markets opened with notable gains on Monday after closing last week with substantial losses.

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