WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump is expressing optimism about trade negotiations with China as U.S. officials are expected in Beijing for talks aimed at easing a trade battle.

Trump said Sunday he spoke recently to Chinese President Xi Jinping. Trump says: "I really believe they want to make a deal. The tariffs have absolutely hurt China very badly."

After several tit-for-tat tariff increases, the leaders agreed Dec. 1 to postpone further hikes. American officials are due in Beijing Monday.

Both governments face pressure to reach a settlement.

Chinese economic growth fell to 6.5 percent in the quarter ending in September. Third-quarter U.S. growth was 3.4 percent and unemployment is at a five-decade low. But surveys show consumer confidence is weakening due to concerns about growth.

►Make it easy to keep up to date with more stories like this. Download the 13 ON YOUR SIDE app now.

Have a news tip? Email news@wzzm13.com, visit our Facebook page or Twitter.