WASHINGTON • The trade deal is “fine” and China is “substantially” increasing purchases of American goods, US President Donald Trump’s top economic adviser Larry Kudlow said, dismissing concerns that rising tensions between the two countries might jeopardise the deal.
The “one area we are engaging is trade”, Mr Kudlow told a White House news conference on Tuesday. “It’s fine right now.”
China continued to promise to implement the phase one trade deal and the evidence showed the country was increasing US purchases, especially of commodities, Mr Kudlow said.
The continued dialogue on trade contrasts with increasing spats between the two nations. The Trump administration has stepped up its campaign against China in recent weeks, betting that a hard line against Beijing could help the President win a second term in November’s election.
Washington’s actions have included sanctioning Chinese individuals connected with human rights abuses in the country’s western region of Xinjiang, as well as officials for their roles in curtailing freedoms in Hong Kong. Mr Trump has also taken steps to ban Chinese apps TikTok and WeChat. The consulates of both countries have been ordered closed by each other’s governments.
Even as China keeps returning fire at the Trump administration, the country’s diplomats are signalling that they want to ease tensions.
For instance, Deputy Chinese Foreign Minister Le Yucheng said he was ready at any time to talk to his American counterparts.
The trade deal offers hope that the two countries can continue to work together. In January, China promised to buy an extra US$200 billion (S$274.5 billion) of US goods and services over the 2017 level by the end of next year. That agreement paused a bruising trade war between the world’s two largest economies, although the relationship has deteriorated on almost every other front since then.
As of the end of June, China had bought about 23 per cent of the total 2020 purchase target of more than US$170 billion of goods, according to Bloomberg calculations based on Chinese data. Senior American and Chinese officials are planning to assess the implementation of the trade agreement on or around Saturday.
As of the end of June, China had bought about this percentage of the total 2020 purchase target of more than US$170 billion of goods, according to Bloomberg calculations based on Chinese data.