U.S., China Plan to Review Phase-One Trade Deal Mid-Month

Senior U.S. and Chinese officials are planning to assess the nations’ trade agreement this month against a backdrop of rising tensions between the countries, according to people briefed on the matter.

The discussion on the so-called phase-one deal, led by U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, would take place on or around Aug. 15, six months after the agreement took effect, as directed in the text of the accord, the people said.

The White House declined to comment, and the U.S. Trade Representative’s office didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. The planned talks were reported earlier Tuesday by the Wall Street Journal.

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, asked in a briefing earlier in the day about China falling short of promised energy targets, said: “We encourage China to fulfill their obligations in the phase-one China deal and to fulfill their end of the agreement.”

President Donald Trump has said repeatedly in recent weeks that the deal is not as important to him as before because of what he called China’s role in the spread of the coronavirus.

“After this happened, I don’t feel the same about the deal,” Trump said in a Fox Business interview Tuesday.

Beijing has fallen far behind its purchases commitments on agriculture and energy products. Still, Lighthizer said in June that the country has done “a pretty good job” on structural changes and lauded “significant purchases over the course of the last many weeks.”

Trump has threatened to ban Chinese music video app TikTok from the U.S. market unless an American company buys it by Sept. 15. Microsoft is in talks with the U.S. government to address perceived national security issues in the purchase of the company.

— With assistance by Justin Sink

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