China expected to maintain trade commitments despite virus outbreak: Mnuchin

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Thursday he expected China to maintain its commitment to boost purchases of American goods service by at least $200 billion over the next two years, despite the coronavirus outbreak that has killed hundreds and jolted the Chinese economy.

China made the commitment to buy the U.S. goods as part of a Phase 1 trade deal with the United States, though a Chinese media report said Beijing was considering invoking the accord’s disaster-related clause that allows for implementation delays.

But Mnuchin said he expected the trade deal to continue being implemented as planned.

“Based on current information, I don’t expect there will be any issues in them fulfilling their commitments,” Mnuchin said in an interview with Fox Business Network.

Mnuchin also downplayed concerns that the outbreak could affect global supply chains, saying the Trump administration had not seen major issues.

“At this point, we haven’t seen big issues in regards to supply chains, but again this is something we’re monitoring very carefully,” Mnuchin said.

(Reporting by Makini Brice and Lindsay Donsmuir; Editing by Alex Richardson and Bernadette Baum)

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