Top U.S. and Chinese trade executives discussed their Phase 1 trade settlement on Friday with China, saying they decided to improve the atmosphere for its implementation and the U.S. saying each side expected obligations to be fulfilled.
The discussion in a telephone call comes amid escalating conflict between the nations, exacerbated by a war of words over U.S. reprehension of China’s handling of the novel coronavirus outbreak.
U.S. President Trump and other prime officials have blamed China for the deaths of thousands from the outbreak and have threatened punitive action, along with possible tariffs and shifting supply networks away from China.
Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, U.S. Trade Executive Robert Lighthizer, and U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin agreed during the call that the two nations would work together to build a favorable setting for implementing the Phase 1 trade agreement reached this year, China’s commerce ministry stated.
The negotiators agreed that “good progress” was being made on creating governmental infrastructures to make the Phase 1 trade agreement a success, the U.S. office stated.
Under the settlement, China agreed to extend its purchases of U.S. goods from a 2017 baseline by $200 billion over two years, with nearly $77 billion in increased purchases in the first year and $123 billion in the second year.
However, the coronavirus, which emerged in China in December 2019, has dealt a sharp strike to Chinese demand, and its economy is barely starting to recover.
The two nations will proceed to hold required meetings under the trade settlement by way of regular conference calls, the U.S. office stated.