Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Trump adviser walks back comment that trade deal is 'over' as China says it will step up U.S. crop purchases

White House trade adviser Peter Navarro on Monday walked back his earlier remarks that the U.S.-China trade pact was 'over', stoking volatility in markets already frazzled by the coronavirus pandemic," Eric Beech reports for Reuters. "Navarro said his comments were taken 'wildly out of context'." President Trump said in a tweet that the deal was "fully intact."

Earlier on Monday, Navarro said "it's over" when Fox News asked him about the trade agreement, saying it began going downhill immediately after the Phase 1 deal was signed Jan. 15. He said U.S officials learned about the pandemic immediately after the trade delegation left, and China "had already sent hundreds of thousands of people to this country to spread that virus," Beech reports.

Navarro, a longtime critic of China, said his remarks had nothing to do with the trade deal itself, and was only speaking to his lack of trust in the Chinese government, accusing them of lying about the origins of the coronavirus and causing it to spread to the rest of the world, Beech reports. 

The pandemic and other factors such as African swine fever and recent national security disputes have jeopardized the trade deal, in which China has promised to increase purchases of American farm products by $32 billion over two years. But the deal has been in trouble since nearly the beginning, since China has not sufficiently increased its purchases. In fact, farm exports to China recently fell behind pre-trade-war levels, Ryan McCrimmon reports for Politico's Morning Agriculture.

Chinese officials announced yesterday that they plan to increase purchases of U.S. farm goods to catch up on its commitments under the trade deal, McCrimmon reports.

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