By Margaret Collins
China’s leader Xi Jinping reassured U.S. President Donald Trump in a phone call that Beijing would meet purchase goals outlined in the recent trade deal between the countries -- despite the impact of the coronavirus on the Asian nation, White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said Friday.
“Xi apparently said, may be a little slower to purchase American exports, but it will get done by the end of the year and next year,” Kudlow said in a Bloomberg Television interview Friday. The virus outbreak has claimed hundreds of lives in China and impacted the economy, raising questions about whether the nation could meet targets in the trade pact.
Kudlow said the “export boom” that the administration is expecting from new trade deals with China, Mexico and Canada will help the economy and wages. A report Friday showed that U.S. employers ramped up hiring in January and wage gains rebounded, providing fresh evidence of a durable jobs market that is a key pillar of Trump’s re-election campaign.
The U.S. and China last month sealed the first phase of a trade agreement that’s supposed to take effect this month. In the first year of the deal, China committed to buy more in American goods over two years. Purchases of agricultural products are particularly important for the livelihoods of American farmers who’ve been hurt in an escalating tariff war with China over the past two years and are a key base of support for Trump.
“Xi apparently reassured President Trump in this phone call that while there might be some delays in the purchase of American exports, the markers of $200 billion over the next couple of years, will in fact be met,” Kudlow said.
Kudlow said China hasn’t formally asked for exceptions to the purchasing targets, but the two leaders and staff are talking.