Aug. 26 (UPI) -- U.S. President Donald Trump said Monday that China has asked for trade talks to resume following a week that saw both countries threatening tit-for-tat tariff increases.
"China called last night our trade people and said let's get back to the table," Trump told reporters on the sidelines of the Group of 7 summit in France. "I have great respect for it. This is a very positive development."
He said it was a "great thing" that China wants to restart talks and that he was optimistic "they want to make a deal."
China's phone call to Trump comes after a week that saw Trump order U.S. companies in China to look elsewhere to do business while China announced new punitive taxes on $75 billion worth of U.S.-made products, including a new 25 percent tariff on automobiles, causing all major U.S. stock markets to significantly drop.
"We don't need China, and frankly would be far better off without them," Trump said after the Asian country announced the new tariff.
On Monday, Trump softened his tone toward China, and he doled out compliments about its president, Xi Jinping, calling him "a great leader."
The two countries have been in a trade spat for over a year on a new trade deal. Neither country had officially walked away from the table but the conversation of late had been dominated with threats and tariffs with no signs of concessions being considered.
"One of the reasons China's a great country is they understand how life works," Trump told reporters in the French city of Biarritz.