BEIJING, April 30. /TASS/. China will hardly be able to fulfill its obligations stipulated by the Sino-US deal on the first stage of the trade agreement due to the coronavirus pandemic and the unprecedented force-majeure global circumstances, Chief Economist at the China Centre for International Economic Exchanges (CCIEE) Chen Wenling told TASS on Thursday.
"I do not think that Beijing will be able to fully implement its own obligations on the trade deal with Washington amid major force-majeure circumstances," she said. "Nevertheless, China continues assuming efforts to ensure implementation of agreements made with the White House. Even amid the current environment we are trying to boost imports of agriculture products and energy from the United States. China has virtually started increasing purchases of US products in full," the economist added.
The State Council of the People’s Republic of China announced the lifting of part of trade restrictions on a wide list of US products in the first quarter of this year, Chen Wenling noted, adding though that "Washington has never lifted the majority of increased duties on Chinese goods, excluding 11 types of medical products."
Incredible as it may seem, it is the US that may hinder China’s fulfillment of its own obligations on increasing imports of American goods amid the current situation, she said. "For example, oil prices in the US fell to negative not long ago (the issue is about the collapse of the price of futures contracts of North American WTI crude oil to negative - TASS). Is Washington really going to insist on our boosting imports of American hydrocarbons in the current situation and even ready to pay us for that? <…> As for agriculture products, the question arises whether the Americans are able to ensure their supplies in the volumes that China needs in the current situation?" the economist emphasized.
US President Donald Trump and Chinese Deputy Prime Minister Liu He signed an agreement on the first phase of a deal to settle bilateral trade disputes on January 15 in Washington. Particularly, Beijing agreed to increase purchases of US goods by $76.7 bln during the first year and by $123.3 bln during the second year of the agreement. The issue is about agriculture products and other US goods.
According to the official statistics, trade turnover between China and the US dropped by 20.1% in January-March period of 2020 in annual terms to $95.7 bln. China’s exports to the US fell by 25.2% to $68.3 bln, while imports of American goods to the country slipped by 3.7% to $27.4 bln. Positive balance of the People’s Republic of China decreased by 34.6%.