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SAINT-JEAN-DE-LUZ, France — Hours after President Donald Trump said Sunday he had "second thoughts" about escalating the trade war with China, the White House sought to explain his remark because it was "greatly misinterpreted."
"This morning in the bilat with the U.K., the president was asked if he had 'any second thought on escalating the trade war with China'. His answer has been greatly misinterpreted. President Trump responded in the affirmative - because he regrets not raising the tariffs higher," White House spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham wrote in a statement.
The statement came hours after Trump held a bilateral meeting with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson at the G-7 in Biarritz, France. During the meeting, Trump was asked if he had second thoughts about escalating the trade war with China. Trump said, "Yup." The question was repeated and he added, "I have second thoughts about everything."
Last week, Trump said he would raise existing duties on $250 billion in Chinese products to 30% from 25% on Oct. 1. What's more, tariffs on another $300 billion of Chinese goods, which start to take effect on Sept. 1, will now be 15% instead of 10%.
The moves were the latest punches in a tit-for-tat trade war between the world's two largest economies that has spooked investors and raised fears that the global economy will dip into a recession.
Trump downplayed those concerns saying "our country is doing really well, we had horrible trade deals and I'm straightening them out."