WASHINGTON -- U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday defended his trade war with China as tensions escalated and markets extended their losses, promising a deal with Chinese President Xi Jinping soon, even as fears escalated about a protracted battle.
In a string of early-morning tweets, Trump kept up his "America First" agenda in support of hefty tariffs and called on U.S. companies to back him by shifting their businesses away from China. But he also softened his tone on soybeans and other agricultural products, appealing to Beijing to act.
"When the time is right we will make a deal with China," Trump said. "It will all happen, and much faster than people think!"
"Hopefully China will do us the honor of continuing to buy our great farm product, the best, but if not your Country will be making up the difference," he wrote in post addressing U.S. farmers directly.
Last week, the head of the U.S. Department of Agriculture said more aid was being planned for U.S. farmers but gave no details.
World stock markets hovered near two-month lows on Tuesday, although slightly more optimistic comments from U.S. and Chinese officials on trade brought some comfort a day after equities suffered their worst sell-off so far this year.