Top US and Chinese trade negotiators on Friday committed to implementing “phase one” of their countries’ trade deal during their first call since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Chinese Vice Premier Liu He spoke on the phone with US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, according to a statement posted on the trade representative’s office website.
The officials vowed to implement the trade deal adopted in January, which includes Chinese promises to buy some 200 billion dollars’ worth of US products during the course of two years and implement stronger rules regarding intellectual property.
The two sides “agreed 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 statement said.
US President Donald Trump this week threatened to terminate the deal if China fails to meet its purchase targets.
But foreign trade data released by China on Thursday suggested that Beijing was far from meeting its import targets, as the coronavirus pandemic has disrupted both countries’ economies.
Chinese imports from the US, in dollar amounts, were down 5.9 per cent from January to April compared with the same period last year.
During Friday’s talk, officials also vowed to strengthen “macroeconomic and public health cooperation,” according to China’s state-run Xinhua news agency. (dpa)