On June 22nd, White House Trade Adviser Peter Navarro said that the US-China trade deal was “over” in an interview with Fox News.
Navarro told Fox News the “turning point” came when the US learned about the coronavirus only after a Chinese delegation had left Washington following the signing of the phase one deal on January 15th.
“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,” said Navarro.
“It’s over,” he said.
Shortly after the interview, US President Donald Trump tweeted that the trade was “fully intact.”
The China Trade Deal is fully intact. Hopefully they will continue to live up to the terms of the Agreement!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 23, 2020
Navarro said his comments had been taken out of context.
“They had nothing at all to do with the phase one trade deal, which continues in place,” he said, and instead referred to “the lack of trust we now have in the Chinese Communist party”.
Despite that, markets went down immediately after his comment.
Markets confused. Peter Navarro now saying his comments (that the trade deal was over) were taken wildly out of context pic.twitter.com/mFKZEWGUZl
— David Ingles (@DavidInglesTV) June 23, 2020
Trump, in an exclusive interview with Axios, said that no sanctions were imposed on China in regard to the alleged camps to contain Uighurs and other Muslim minorities by Chinese authorities, he said that it was because Washington and Beijing on the verge of a trade deal.
“And I made a great deal, $250 billion potentially worth of purchases. And by the way, they’re buying a lot, you probably have seen.”
Trump continued: “And when you’re in the middle of a negotiation and then all of a sudden you start throwing additional sanctions on — we’ve done a lot. I put tariffs on China, which are far worse than any sanction you can think of.”
China hawks in Congress, such as Republican Sen. Marco Rubio, have repeatedly urged the Trump administration to sanction Chinese officials connected to the Xinjiang mass detention camps.
“When you say the Magnitsky Act, just so you know, nobody’s mentioned it specifically to me with regard to China.”
“If somebody asked me, I would take a look at it,” he continued. “But nobody’s asked me. I have not been spoken to about the Magnitsky Act. So if somebody asks me about it, I’d study it. But at this moment, they have not asked me about it.”
In his book, John Bolton writes that Trump gave President Xi a green light to continue with the Xinjiang camps. Trump categorically rejected the allegations by former US National Security Adviser.
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