Coronavirus outbreak may force US, China to rework trade deal implementation

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Several weeks have passed since the U.S.-China Phase One trade agreement entered into force, but already there is good news on implementation. China has taken the actions specified in the agreement according to required timeframes, and in some cases has even been ahead of schedule. Beijing has relaxed import restrictions on agricultural products ranging from potatoes to poultry to pet food, has granted approval for a U.S. electronic payments provider to operate in China after several previous delays and has issued exceptions to tariff increases on certain U.S. imports, including certain pork, beef, soybeans and energy products.

China has accomplished this while confronting a national health emergency, the COVID-19 virus. Even with the attention of senior Chinese officials focused on dealing with the health crisis, and some government workers staying at home, China has demonstrated that it is taking implementation of this bilateral deal seriously.

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