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China says Xi-Trump phone call on trade 'extremely positive'

Chinese President Xi Jinping has had an "extremely positive" phone conversation with U.S. President Donald Trump about trade and other issues, China's foreign ministry says.

Talk comes after billions of dollars in trade tariffs were exchanged this year

In this photo from Nov. 9, 2017, U.S. President Donald Trump, right, chats with Chinese President Xi Jinping during a welcome ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. (Andy Wong/The Associated Press)

Chinese President Xi Jinping had an "extremely positive" phone conversation with U.S. President Donald Trump about trade and other issues, the foreign ministry said Friday.

The two leaders agreed to "strengthen economic exchanges," said a ministry spokesperson, Lu Kang. He gave no indication whether they made progress on settling an escalating tariff war over Beijing's technology policy.

Trump said earlier on Twitter that he and Xi had a "very good" conversation.

"I agree, this phone conversation was an extremely positive phone conversation," Lu said at a regular briefing.

Trump has imposed penalty tariffs of up to 25 per cent on $250 billion US of Chinese goods in a dispute over Beijing's plans for state-led development of technology industries. Washington, Europe and other trading partners say those violate China's market-opening obligations and some American officials worry they might erode U.S. industrial leadership.

Trump said he and Xi plan to meet during a gathering of the Group of 20 major economies this month in Argentina.

"Both leaders attach great importance to China-U.S. ties and economic ties," Lu said. "President Xi Jinping also stressed that China-U.S. trade has long been serving as ballast and a stabilizer for China-U.S. relations."

The two leaders agreed the trade dispute "should be handled properly through substantial consultation," Lu said.

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