The White House has insisted Donald Trump remains committed to the trade war with Beijing after the US president admitted that raising tariffs on Chinese goods had given him “second thoughts”.

The White House issued a statement on Sunday morning saying Mr Trump’s only regret was not raising levies higher, after the president appeared to cast doubt on his own policy during the G7 summit in the French coastal resort of Biarritz.

The apparent confusion added to jitters over the state of the global economy as the gathering of leading economies hosted by France’s President Emmanuel Macron held talks on Sunday on averting a global slowdown. The three-day meeting also brings together Germany, Japan, the UK, Italy, Canada and Donald Tusk, president of the European Council of EU leaders.

Mr Trump grabbed attention earlier on Sunday when he appeared to suggest a possible rethink over escalating a trade tariff war with China, just two days after increasing duties on almost all Chinese imports.

Asked if was having second thoughts about imposing additional levies in Beijing, the US leader said he was. “I have second thoughts about everything,” he added, in remarks to the media on the margins of his first bilateral meeting with Boris Johnson, the UK prime minister.