June 23, 2020 / 4:11 PM / 14 days ago

China has picked up its 'game' on trade with U.S. - Trump adviser

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. trade deal with China is not only fully intact, but Beijing has actually stepped forward in a number of areas in a constructive way, a top White House adviser said on Tuesday.

FILE PHOTO: U.S. and Chinese flags are adjusted before the opening session of trade negotiations between U.S. and Chinese trade representatives at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing, Thursday, Feb. 14, 2019. Mark Schiefelbein/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo

“They’ve actually picked up their game,” National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow told Fox Business Network.

“It’s not just commodity buying, although that is picking up too,” but also extends to the issue of intellectual property theft, which has long been one of the sore spots for the relationship, he said.

Kudlow’s comments marked the latest in a series of damage-control efforts by the Trump administration after White House trade adviser Peter Navarro said on Monday night the pact was “over.”

Navarro, who made the comment in an interview with Fox News Channel, later walked it back, issuing a statement saying his remarks were taken “wildly out of context.”

Trump later tweeted that the deal was “fully intact.”

Navarro’s remarks pushed U.S. stock futures down, while risk-sensitive currencies, including the Australian dollar, fell.

“I think he misspoke,” Kudlow said. “The trade deal is on. No question about it.”

After more than two years of on-and-off talks and nearly two years of tit-for-tat tariffs, the two nations struck a so-called Phase 1 trade deal under which China pledged to boost purchases of U.S. goods by $200 billion over two years.

That target has been put at risk by global disruptions from the coronavirus epidemic.

Reporting by Tim Ahmann; Editing by Doina Chiacu and Sandra Maler

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