US President Donald Trump says the US-China trade deal is fully intact, just hours after a top adviser declared it “over”.
“The China Trade Deal is fully intact. Hopefully they will continue to live up to the terms of the Agreement,” Trump said in a tweet on Monday.
White House trade adviser Peter Navarro earlier said the trade deal was “over”, linking the breakdown to Washington’s anger over Beijing not sounding the alarm earlier about the coronavirus outbreak.
He said the “turning point” came when the United States learned about the spreading coronavirus only after a Chinese delegation had left Washington following the signing of the Phase 1 deal on January 15.
“It was at a time when they had already sent hundreds of thousands of people to this country to spread that virus, and it was just minutes after wheels up when that plane took off that we began to hear about this pandemic,” Navarro told Fox News in an interview on Monday.
Financial markets reacted to Navarro’s comments, with US stock futures turning negative and risk-sensitive currencies including the Australian dollar falling.
They have since recovered much of the lost ground after Navarro issued a statement saying his comments “have been taken wildly out of context”.
“They had nothing at all to do with the Phase I trade deal, which continues in place. I was simply speaking to the lack of trust we now have of the Chinese Communist Party after they lied about the origins of the China virus and foisted a pandemic upon the world,” he said.
US-China relations have reached their lowest point in years since the coronavirus pandemic that began in China hit the United States hard.
President Trump and his administration repeatedly have accused Beijing of not being transparent about the outbreak.
Trump on Thursday renewed his threat to cut ties with China, a day after his top diplomats held talks with Beijing and his trade representative said he did not consider decoupling the US and Chinese economies a viable option.
Navarro has been one of the most outspoken critics of China among Trump’s senior advisers.