US official: Corona’s outbreak will not change China’s commitment to buy US goods

Trump China Tariffs
FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump meets with China's President Xi Jinping at the start of their bilateral meeting at the G20 leaders summit in Osaka, Japan, June 29, 2019. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque/File Photo - RC2S5D9JP4J4

A senior US Treasury official said on Thursday that the US government expects China to fulfill its commitment to purchase more US goods under a trade agreement signed by the world’s two largest economies in January, despite the spread of the Corona virus.

The official said it was still too early to make precise forecasts of the impact of the virus on the global economy, but the basic scenario expected an impact that would see China’s growth decline in the first quarter and then recover.

Asked if the outbreak would require changes to the one-stage commercial agreement with China, the official said, “At this stage, we do not expect changes to the implementation of stage 1 … We still expect them to fulfill their pledges, but over a period of time“.

Under the agreement, which came into effect this month, China pledges to increase its purchases of American goods by 77 billion dollars in 2020 and 123 billion dollars in 2021, compared with a base level for US imports in 2017, the year before the start of the US tariff war between the United States and China.