Trade Negotiators’ Phone Call Affirms Phase One Deal After Trump Threat
What’s new: Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin agreed over the phone Friday to create a “favorable atmosphere and conditions” to implement the phase one trade deal and to improve cooperation on public health and the economy, the Xinhua News Agency reported.
The U.S. Trade Representative Office (USTR) said in a statement that “in spite of the current global health emergency, both countries fully expect to meet their obligations under the agreement in a timely manner.”
The background: The latest phone call between the top trade negotiators from China and the U.S. came four days after U.S. President Donald Trump threatened to “terminate” the phase one deal if Beijing fails to deliver on its commitment to buy an additional $200 billion in U.S. goods and services over the next two years. “If they don’t buy, we’ll terminate the deal. Very simple,” Trump said in an interview Sunday. The agreement took effect on Feb. 14.
As the Covid-19 pandemic devastates the global economy, questions have been raised about whether it is possible for Beijing to meet its buying commitments, particularly regarding aircraft and crude oil, two industries that have been severely hurt by the outbreak.
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