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Trump says US and China resume trade talks Thursday 'at a different level'

Key Points
  • Trump made the remarks in an interview with Fox News Radio without elaborating on what "a different level" means.
  • "Let's see what the end product is, that's what you have to judge it by," Trump said. 
  • China softened its stance, saying it's willing to resolve the trade war with a "calm attitude" and indicating it won't retaliate immediately.
President Donald Trump speaks during the G7 summit in Biarritz, France, August 26, 2019.
Carlos Barria | Reuters

President Donald Trump said the U.S. and China are set to have trade talks on Thursday "at a different level."

"There's a talk scheduled for today at a different level," Trump said in an interview with Fox News Radio without elaborating on what "a different level" means.

"Let's see what the end product is; that's what you have to judge it by," Trump said.

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A White House official told CNBC "both sides remain in communication at various levels."

Trump said Monday that China in recent phone conversations expressed its desire for a deal and that the two sides will get back to the negotiating table. However, China repeatedly said it is not aware of the calls Trump mentioned.

The trade tensions escalated last week with both sides piling on new tariffs. China softened its stance Thursday saying it's willing to resolve the trade war with a "calm attitude" and indicating it won't retaliate against Trump's new tariff threat immediately. China also said the Chinese and U.S. trade delegations have maintained "effective" communication.

"China has plenty of means for countermeasures, but under the current situation, the question that should be discussed right now is about removing the U.S.′ new tariffs on $550 billion in Chinese goods to prevent escalation of the trade war," Gao Feng, spokesman for China's Ministry of Commerce, said Thursday.

His comment came after Trump on Friday threatened to raise duties on $250 billion in Chinese goods to 30% from 25% and increase tariffs on another $300 billion in products to 15% from 10%, in response to Chinese retaliation.

The two sides were also expected to meet face to face in September in Washington.

— CNBC's Kevin Breuninger contributed reporting.

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