Government advisers in Beijing are calling for a reassessment of the country’s Phase 1 trade agreement with Washington, with some of the more hawkish among them urging fresh negotiations, according to local media.
Advisers have suggested that Beijing should consider scrapping the trade pact and negotiating a new one to tilt the scales in China’s favor, the Global Times reported on Monday, citing sources close to the government.
Published by the People’s Daily, the official newspaper of the country’s ruling Communist Party, the Global Times is not an official party mouthpiece, but its views tend to be aligned with those of top officials.
Under the Phase 1 agreement signed in January, Beijing agreed to purchase at least $200 billion in additional American goods and services over two years while the US agreed to roll back tariffs in stages on goods from China.
Last week, US President Donald Trump said he was “very torn” about whether to scrap the so-called Phase 1 trade deal, just hours after senior trade officials from both countries committed to moving forward with the implementation of the deal.
Trump has blamed tens of thousands of deaths and millions of job losses in the US on China’s early handling of the Covid-19 outbreak in the central city of Wuhan.
The Trump administration also claimed it had evidence that the virus came from a laboratory in Wuhan, an allegation that has been firmly rejected by China.
Washington’s malicious attacks have triggered a “tsunami of anger” among Chinese trade insiders, the Global Times report said.
It added that China had made compromises so the Phase 1 pact could move forward.
“It’s in fact in China’s interests to terminate the current Phase 1 deal,” a trade adviser to the Chinese government told the Global Times, citing the sagging US economy and the upcoming US presidential elections.
“The US now cannot afford to restart the trade war with China if everything goes back to the starting point.”
– with reporting from Reuters