Chinese President Xi: Beijing wants trade deal, but not afraid to 'fight back'

Chinese President Xi: Beijing wants trade deal, but not afraid to 'fight back'
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Chinese President Xi Jinping on Friday said that while China still wanted to work toward a trade deal with the United States, it wouldn't be afraid to “fight back" against the U.S., CNBC reports.

“As we always said we don’t want to start the trade war but we are not afraid,” Xi told a U.S. business delegation. “When necessary we will fight back but we have been working actively to try not to have a trade war."

“We want to work for a Phase 1 agreement on the basis of mutual respect and equality," Xi added.

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The U.S. delegation included several former U.S. officials, including former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and former Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson.

The tone of both sides regarding a trade agreement has generally been positive recently, but specifics on what "phase one" of the deal would entail are still blurry, according to the network.

For the past 18 months, China and the U.S. have been embroiled in a trade war that has seen the introduction of billions of dollars of tariffs on both American and Chinese goods.

While talks seem to be moving forward, President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump endorses former White House physician Ronny Jackson for Congress Newly released emails reveal officials' panic over loss of credibility after Trump's Dorian claims Lindsey Graham thanks Trump, bemoans 'never-ending bull----' at South Carolina rally  MORE is still expected to impose new tariffs on $160 billion worth of Chinese goods next month.