Economy slides to lowest in 30 years

China on Tuesday rejected claims from U.S. President Donald Trump that it is being forced to make a trade deal because of its slowing economy, as the two sides prepare for more talks.

Beijing and Washington have been locked in a trade war that has seen them hit each other with tariffs covering over $360 billion in two-way trade.

On Monday, China published data showing its quarterly growth had slipped to 6.2% — the slowest in nearly 30 years.

Mr. Trump tweeted: “This is why China wants to make a deal… with the U.S., and wishes it had not broken the original deal in the first place.”

But Beijing has rejected the comments. “It’s completely misleading to say, as the U.S. side does, that because of its economic slowdown, China is eager to reach an agreement,” said Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang.

“I would like to once again call on the U.S. to work together with China, to meet halfway, and to strive for a mutually beneficial and win-win agreement.”

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Monday that top American and Chinese trade negotiators are due to speak by telephone “this week”, the second such call in two weeks.

Mnuchin and US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer had a phone conversation last week with China’s Vice Premier Liu He and Commerce Minister Zhong Shan.

Mr. Geng said that an economic agreement was in the interest of both sides, and “by no means a unilateral request of the Chinese side”.

Mr. Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping last month agreed to resume trade talks after discussions collapsed in early May when the American side accused Beijing of reneging on key commitments.

But no face-to-face talks have yet been scheduled.

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