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China stands by pledge to implement US trade deal

China on Friday repeated its pledge to implement its landmark trade deal with the US amid growing tensions between the two countries.

“China will continue to boost economic and trade cooperation with other countries to deliver mutual benefits,” premier Li Keqiang said at the annual meeting of China’s parliament in Beijing, according to Bloomberg News.

American and Chinese officials agreed earlier this month to forge ahead with the phase-one deal that President Trump signed in January even as the White House slammed China’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

US officials touted progress toward implementing the deal Thursday as they added agricultural products such as blueberries and Hass avocados to the list of items that can now be exported to China. Beijing has also updated its lists of American facilities eligible to export meat and dairy products, officials said.

“China has worked with the United States to implement measures that will provide greater access for US producers and exporters to China’s growing food and agricultural markets,” US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said in a statement.

But Trump has said the trade pact “doesn’t feel the same” now that the coronavirus crisis has roiled the global economy. He suggested last week that the US could “cut off the whole relationship” after the administration accused the Chinese Communist Party of trying to cover up the outbreak.

China is now threatening to retaliate if the US passes a law that would let Trump sanction the country over its handling of the virus, according to Singapore’s Straits Times newspaper.

“China will never start trouble but will never flinch when trouble comes its way,” Zhang Yesui, a spokesman for China’s National People’s Congress, reportedly said at a news conference. “We will resolutely defend our sovereignty, security and development interests.”

With Post wires

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