Trump Says “very torn” On China Deal As Officials Push to “Phase 1” Trade Agreement


President Trump criticized China failing to hold up its end of the trade deal on Friday and say he was “very torn” about whether to end the so-call Phase 1 U.S-China trade deal, even top trade officials from both countries pledged to press ahead with implementing it despite coronavirus economic wreckage.

Almost 1.3 million in the United States have been infected with the new coronavirus, and the number of deaths is rising. Early on Friday, just before the U.S. Labour Department announced that a staggering 20.5 million U.S jobs were lost in April, Trump told Fox News Channel that was “having a tough time with China.” He has intensified threats of new tariffs to punish China as he seeks a winning issue for his campaign for re-election in November, just as Beijing tries to deflect growing criticism over its handling of coronavirus.

Mr. Trump said on May 1 that increasing tariffs on China is “certainly an option” as part of retaliatory measures for what his administration believes was Beijing’s failure to contain the spread of the virus beyond its origins in the central city of Wuhan in December last year.

FILE PHOTO: China’s Vice Premier Liu He gestures to the media between U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer (L) and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin before the two countries’ trade negotiations in Washington, U.S., October 10, 2019. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas

While China has made some purchases of U.S farm goods, some observers say there are running far behind the pace needed to meet the first-year goal of a $77 billion increase as China’s economy is just now beginning to recover from shutdowns imposed during the pandemic. Beijing’s new plans to implement stricter protections for intellectual property as part of the trade deal have met with mixed reviews.

U.S. President Donald Trump at the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on May 7, 2020.
Doug Bills | The New York Times | Getty Images

The pact signed in January contains a clause saying the two countries may resume talks if “a natural disaster or other unforeseeable events” prevents them from keeping the terms of the deal. But China has insisted it isn’t exercising that provision.

U.S officials, including President Donald Trump are increasingly banging the drums of a renewed trade war with China, spooking global markets that are already reeling from the unprecedented economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic.

Trump and some members of his administration have threatened to take punitive measures against Beijing, including imposing possible tariffs and shifting the supply chain from China.

In this file photo taken on Nov 6, 2018 a Chinese and US flag are displayed at a booth during the first China International Import Expo in Shanghai. AFP
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