Trump says trade war with China will be fairly short

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U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to reporters before boarding Air Force One at Morristown Municipal Airport in Morristown, New Jersey U.S. August 15, 2019. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

MORRISTOWN, N.J. (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump said on Thursday he believes China wants to make a trade deal and the trade war with Beijing will be fairly short.

“I think we’re having very good discussions with China. They very much want to make a deal,” Trump told reporters. He said he had a call scheduled soon with Chinese President Xi Jinping, but he did not say when.

“I think the longer it goes the stronger we get,” Trump said of the trade war. “I have a feeling it’s going to go fairly short,” he said.

China on Thursday vowed to counter the latest U.S. tariffs on $300 billion of Chinese goods but called on the United States to meet it halfway on a potential trade deal.

Trump said he did not think Beijing would retaliate for the U.S. tariffs.

U.S. and Chinese trade negotiators are set to meet next month in Washington, though a specific date has not been announced.

“September, the meeting is still on as I understand it, but I think more importantly than September, we’re talking by phone, and we’re having very productive talks,” Trump said.

He said U.S. and Chinese officials had “a very good conversation” a few days ago.

Reporting by Steve Holland; Writing by Eric Beech; Editing by Chris Reese and Sandra Maler