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23 Jun, 2020 09:18

‘It’s fully intact’: Trump hits back at WH adviser who claimed US-China trade deal is ‘over’ due to Beijing’s Covid-19 ‘cover-up’

‘It’s fully intact’: Trump hits back at WH adviser who claimed US-China trade deal is ‘over’ due to Beijing’s Covid-19 ‘cover-up’

A White House adviser who said the trade deal with China is effectively dead due to their deceitful conduct, had to go on the defensive after Donald Trump swiftly rebuked the comment, saying the deal is alive and well.

The US-China trade deal, signed in January, “is fully intact,” US President Donald Trump tweeted late Monday, adding that he hopes Beijing “will continue to live up to the terms of the agreement.”

The president’s Twitter intervention came shortly after Peter Navarro, the White House trade adviser, unloaded on China when speaking to Fox News. “It’s over,” he told the broadcaster, saying that Beijing proceeded to sign the deal on January 15, and that was “a full two months after they knew the [coronavirus] was out and about.”

Navarro was seemingly caught off-guard by Trump’s rebuke, issuing a haphazard statement later. He maintained his incendiary comments were “taken wildly out of context.”

“They had nothing at all to do with the Phase I trade deal, which continues in place,” the White House official said. Repeating a well-worn Washington narrative, he explained that he was speaking about “the lack of trust we now have of the Chinese Communist Party” after they “lied about the origins of the [Covid-19] virus and foisted a pandemic upon the world.”

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Designed to ease mounting tensions between the two nations, the agreement saw China pledging to boost US imports by $200bn and improve intellectual property rules, while the US agreed to cut in half some of its tariffs on Chinese goods in exchange.

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