Trump indicates phase two deal with China unlikely

Trump indicates phase two deal with China unlikely
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President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden says his faith is 'bedrock foundation of my life' after Trump claim Coronavirus talks on life support as parties dig in, pass blame Ohio governor tests negative in second coronavirus test MORE on Friday indicated a phase two trade deal with China is unlikely, saying the relationship between the two countries "has been severely damaged" by Beijing's handling of the coronavirus.

"I don’t think about it now," Trump told reporters on Air Force One of a potential second trade deal, saying he has "many other things in mind."

"They could have stopped the plague, they could have stopped it, they didn’t stop it. They stopped it from going into the remaining portions of China from Wuhan province. They could have stopped the plague, they didn’t," he added. "The relationship with China has been severely damaged."

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The U.S. and China signed an initial "Phase One" trade deal in mid-January that included commitments from China to boost its purchases of U.S. goods and services by $200 billion over the next two years.

The deal reduced tariffs on certain Chinese imports but left other tariffs in place. The agreement marked a breakthrough following more than a year of stop-and-start negotiations.

But the coronavirus pandemic has complicated the follow-through on the deal and put in doubt chances of a second agreement that Trump administration officials had said would address issues such as intellectual property, technology, state-owned enterprises and industrial subsidies.

The virus, which originated in Wuhan, China, has infected more than 12 million people worldwide, including more than 3 million in the U.S. It has also cratered the American economy, as many businesses have been shuttered for weeks to slow the spread of the disease.

In the early months of the outbreak, Trump offered approval for Beijing's response, at one point praising Chinese President Xi Jinping for his transparency.

But he changed his tone swiftly as the pandemic spread across the United States. He has at various points referred to COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, as the "China virus," the "Wuhan virus" and the racist term "kung flu."

He has suggested at times that China may have intentionally let the virus spread to other parts of the world, questioning why certain parts of the country were not as hard hit outside of the Hubei province, where Wuhan is located.