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Trump defends China trade negotiations as global markets fall

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In early morning tweets US President Donald Trump has defended his trade war with China, saying the US is in a better position to do a good deal now.

US President Donald Trump has defended his trade war with China as tensions escalated and markets extended their losses, promising a deal with Chinese President Xi Jinping soon.

In series of early-morning tweets on Tuesday, Trump kept up his "America First" agenda in support of hefty tariffs and called on US companies to back him by shifting their businesses away from China.

"When the time is right we will make a deal with China," Trump said. "It will all happen, and much faster than people think!"

World stocks hovered near two-month lows on Tuesday, although slightly more optimistic comments from US and Chinese officials on trade brought some comfort a day after equities suffered their worst sell-off so far this year.

Trump said he could make a deal with Beijing now, but said he would not be burned again and criticised China for last-minute attempts to renegotiate.

"We are in a much better position now than any deal we could have made," he said.

President Donald Trump says a trade deal with China is still "possible".
President Donald Trump says a trade deal with China is still possible.
AAP

Earlier Tuesday, the Chinese government said the two countries would keep talking about their trade dispute.

The slightly more optimistic comments came after both sides ramped up their trade war, with China announcing details of new tariffs against US imports on Monday, following the United States' move last week to target Chinese imports.

The US Trade Representative's office said it planned to hold a public hearing next month on the possibility of imposing duties of up to 25 per cent on a further $US300 billion worth of imports from China.

Mobile phones and laptops would be included in that list but pharmaceuticals would be excluded, the office said.

"My understanding is that China and the United States have agreed to continue pursuing relevant discussions. As for how they are pursued, I think that hinges upon further consultations between the two sides," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told a daily news briefing on Tuesday, without giving details.

But China will not be bullied, he added.

"We hope that the US side does not misjudge the situation and not underestimate China's determination and will to safeguard its interests."

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