According to Reuters, White House chief economic adviser Larry Kudlow said on Thursday (August 20) that the Trump administration was still in contact with China on the first phase of the trade agreement and was satisfied with the progress made so far, especially Beijing’s purchases of US commodities.
Speaking to reporters at the White House, Kudlow made no specific comment on when he might hold trade-related talks with China.
Gao Feng, a spokesman for China’s Ministry of Commerce, announced in Beijing on Thursday that the United States and China would meet in the coming days to review the implementation of the first phase of the bilateral trade agreement.
Affected by the coVID-19 outbreak, China has fallen far short of the amount of us products it agreed to buy, but has recently stepped up its purchases of US agricultural products.
The centrepiece of the first phase of the agreement is China’s commitment to buy at least $200bn more of US goods and services in 2020 and 2021, on top of purchases made in 2017.
China has committed to buy $36.5 billion worth of U.S. agricultural products under the first phase of the trade agreement, but after more than half of this year, it is still far behind. U.S. agricultural exports to China were just $7.274 billion in the first half of this year, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
The US Department of Agriculture said on Tuesday that Chinese buyers had agreed to buy 195,000 tonnes of US corn. The USDA last announced the sale of U.S. corn to China in its daily reporting system on July 30, when Chinese buyers bought a record 1.937 million tons in a single day.
Trade talks between China and the United States that had been scheduled for the weekend have been abruptly postponed. It was initially suggested that China wanted to discuss other issues besides trade agreements in the meeting, but the Chinese refused to attend after that request was rebuffed by the US. Then came reports that Chinese officials were unable to attend the video conference because of scheduling problems.
Then, at an event in Arizona on Tuesday, U.S. President Donald Trump revealed that he was the one who put off talks with China. Trump said the same day that he canceled a weekend trade negotiation with China and described Beijing’s treatment of Novel Coronavirus as “inconceivable.” Speaking in Yuma, Arizona, Mr Trump said: “I cancelled my meeting with China. I don’t want to talk to China right now.”
When asked whether the United States would withdraw from the first phase of the agreement, Mr. Trump did not respond, saying, “We’ll see. We’ll see what happens.”
In recent months, relations between China and the United States have deteriorated markedly, with both sides attacking each other ona broader range of issues, including the original origins of novel Coronavirus and the issue of Hong Kong autonomy.
The Wall Street Journal reported the meeting ahead of China’s announcement.
U.S. and Chinese trade negotiators plan to meet by video in the coming days to discuss the implementation of the terms of the first phase of the trade agreement and U.S. actions against Chinese technology companies, according to U.S. and Chinese officials.
The Wall Street Journal also reported that U.S. and Chinese trade officials will discuss recent U.S. actions against Chinese technology companies in addition to implementing the terms of the agreement during the meeting.
The United States and China plan to reschedule a trade agreement they postponed last weekend to assess the progress of the deal in the past six months, Bloomberg reported Tuesday, citing people familiar with the matter. Although no specific date has been set for the talks, the assessment will take place soon, according to people familiar with the matter.