U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday said that the coronavirus pandemic has cast a pall over the possible trade deal with China. Trump said that he was very disappointed with the way China handled the coronavirus outbreak and the measures it adopted to contain the spread of the virus.
This isn't the first time that Trump has expressed his disappointment over China's failure in containing the spread of the deadly coronavirus that is now taking a heavy toll on the global economy. The coronavirus outbreak originated in Wuhan, China in late 2019 and started spreading its tentacles as the United States and China completed signing the Phase 1 trade deal.
Uncertainty Over Phase II Trade Deal
Trump on Thursday once again expressed his disappointment with Beijing and said that a trade deal with China is now doubtful because of the coronavirus outbreak. "I'm very disappointed in China," Trump said in an interview to Fox Business Network.
The U.S. president also said that China should have let coronavirus spread and could have taken more preventive measures. He also said that a trade deal between the two countries is not likely which he earlier felt could have materialized had China been more careful with the coronavirus. "The ink was barely dry and the plague came over. And it doesn't feel the same to me," he said.
According to a Chinese-run newspaper, a few government advisors in Beijing are urging the country's government to start fresh talks on a trade deal, possibly quashing the agreement. However, Trump has said that he is not interested in negotiating with China on a trade deal.
U.S. Not Interested in Trade Deal
The United States and China got embroiled in a bitter tariff war in early 2018. However, a Phase I trade deal was signed between the two countries in January this year after months of negotiations. Under the Phase I trade deal, China pledged to buy at least $200 billion in additional goods and services from the United States, while Washington agreed to roll back tariffs on a range of China-made goods in phases.
However, a possible U.S.-China trade deal doesn't look likely following the coronavirus outbreak. This isn't the first instance that Trump and other official from the White House have shown their disappointment over China's failure in containing the virus. In fact, a section of U.S. officials believe that believe that the virus to be man-made in a Wuhan lab.
Although U.S. intelligence agencies have confirmed that the virus didn't appear to be man-made, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said early in May there is "a significant amount of evidence" it came from a laboratory in Wuhan. Earlier this week, Trump and Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia directed the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board to put to halt plans of investing in Chinese companies.
Also, on Wednesday, United States accused hackers linked to the Chinese government for attempting to break into US organizations researching into a coronavirus vaccine. In a joint statement, FBI and the Department of Homeland Security said that the FBI has launched an investigation into digital break-ins at US organizations by China-linked hackers. Given this situation, it is unlikely that White House would be interested in initiating fresh talks with China for a Phase II trade deal.