Trump’s trade deal with China is ‘under review’

  • From left, China's President Xi Jinping and U.S. President Donald Trump shake hands on Nov. 9, 2017, during a meeting outside the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. (Artyom Ivanov/Tass/Abaca Press/TNS)

The Biden administration has former President Donald Trump’s so-called phase-one trade deal with China “under review” along with the rest of the U.S. posture toward Beijing, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Friday.

“Everything that the past administration has put in place is under review,” Psaki said in response to questions about whether President Joe Biden considers Trump’s agreement to still be in effect.

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The trade deal Trump signed a year ago was one of his proudest accomplishments until the novel coronavirus spread from China to the U.S. After that, then-presidential candidate Biden was able to cast the agreement as a sign Trump was too focused on his own political achievements, even as the world was on the brink of a deadly pandemic.

Under the deal, Beijing agreed to escalate purchases of American agricultural goods and other products in exchange for relief from U.S. tariffs. Psaki didn’t answer a question about whether the U.S. still expects China to meet its commitments under the agreement.

“We are focused on approaching that relationship from a position of strength and that means coordinating and communicating with our allies and partners about how we are going to work with China,” she said. “It means strengthening our economy at home and it means determining the best path forward to address a range of issues, not just economic, but strategic and also security.”

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Asked again whether the deal was still in effect, she added: “I would not assume that things are moving forward.” The administration is “coordinating with our allies, members of Congress, and making a determination before we engage further.”

Biden isn’t known to have spoken with Chinese President Xi Jinping since assuming office earlier this month.

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