When President Donald Trump said on Sunday that he had second thoughts about escalating the trade war with China, he meant that he wished he had raised tariffs on Beijing even higher, the White House said.
Trump, who announced higher tariffs on Chinese goods last week, raised eyebrows during a meeting with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson at the G7 when he responded in the affirmative to questions from reporters on whether he had any second thoughts about the tariff move.
White House spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham sought to explain the remark.
“His answer has been greatly misinterpreted. President Trump responded in the affirmative – because he regrets not raising the tariffs higher,” she said in a statement.
Trump on Friday set an additional 5% duty on some $550 billion in targeted Chinese goods, hours after China unveiled retaliatory tariffs on $75 billion worth of U.S. goods.
The moves were the latest round in a tit-for-tat trade war between the world’s two largest economies that has damaged global growth, upset allies, and raised market fears that the world economy will tip into a recession.