Jun 18, 2020 06:46 PM

U.S. Says China Is Upholding Its ‘Phase One’ Trade Deal Commitments

What’s New: The U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer told a congressional hearing Wednesday that China is on track to fulfill its “phase one” trade deal by upholding its purchase commitments, with $10 billion or more purchases of U.S. farm goods having been recorded so far.

When asked about the example of cotton purchases, Lighthizer said China had already bought about $1 billion of U.S. cotton since the trade deal took effect in February, which was “way above” where they were in 2017, but there was still a “fair amount” to go.

“Every indication is that in spite of this Covid-19, they are going to do what they say,” Lighthizer added, “I expect them to live up to the agreement.”

The background: As part of the “phase one” trade deal signed in January, China agreed to expand purchases of certain U.S. goods and services, particularly of agricultural products, by $200 billion over the next two years from 2017 levels.

However, as the Covid-19 pandemic hammers the global economy, whether China will be able to fulfill its purchase commitments is being questioned. The Peterson Institute for International Economics think tank tracked China’s monthly purchases of U.S. goods covered by the phase one deal from January to April, and found only less than half of the year-to-date targets had been met.

Quick Takes are condensed versions of China-related stories for fast news you can use. To read the full Caixin article in Chinese, click here.

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