Trump says 'China trade deal is fully intact' after adviser Peter Navarro allegedly said it's over

White House Trade Advisor Peter Navarro speaks to the press outside the White House in Washington, on June 18, 2020.
White House Trade Advisor Peter Navarro speaks to the press outside the White House in Washington, on June 18, 2020.PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON (REUTERS, BLOOMBERG) -  US President Donald Trump said on Monday (June 22)  that the US-China trade deal is fully intact after White House trade adviser Peter Navarro had earlier been quoted as saying the deal was "over".

Navarro later said his remarks were taken out of context.

“The China Trade Deal is fully intact. Hopefully they will continue to live up to the terms of the Agreement”, Trump said in a tweet.

Navarro had earlier given an interview to Fox News. He was quoted as saying the Phase I trade deal with China was "over", linking the breakdown in part to Washington's anger over Beijing's not sounding the alarm earlier about the coronavirus outbreak.

“My comments have been taken wildly out of context," he clarified.

"They had nothing at all to do with the Phase I trade deal, which continues in place. I was simply speaking to the lack of trust we now have of the Chinese Communist Party after they lied about the origins of the China virus and foisted a pandemic upon the world.” 

Navarro was asked during the Fox interview about the US China trade deal and progress made on it.

He said the "turning point" came when the United States learned about the spreading coronavirus only after a Chinese delegation had left Washington following the signing of the Phase 1 deal on Jan 15.

"It was at a time when they had already sent hundreds of thousands of people to this country to spread that virus, and it was just minutes after wheels up when that plane took off that we began to hear about this pandemic," Navarro said.

Oil retreated from the highest level in more than three months in reaction to his remarks.

US-China relations have reached their lowest point in years since the coronavirus pandemic that began in China hit the United States hard. President Donald Trump and his administration repeatedly have accused Beijing of not being transparent about the outbreak.

Trump last Thursday (June 18) renewed his threat to cut ties with China, a day after his top diplomats held talks with Beijing and his trade representative said he did not consider decoupling the US and Chinese economies a viable option.

Navarro has been one of the most outspoken critics of China among Trump's senior advisers.