White House trade advisor Peter Navarro, one of the outspoken critics of China, said Monday that the trade deal between the United States and China was over, only to be quickly contradicted by U.S. President Donald Trump. Seen as a sign of worsening relations between the two nations, the initial comments caused momentary panic on stock markets across the globe on Tuesday.
“They came here on January 15th to sign that trade deal, and that was a full two months after they knew the virus was out and about,” Navarro told Fox News. “It was just minutes after wheels up when that plane [with the Chinese delegation] took off that we began to hear about this pandemic.” When asked if it was over given everything that has happened although there had been progress made on the trade deal, he said, “It is over.”
His comments sent global stock markets into turmoil. Tuesday witnessed wild fluctuation in major Asian stock markets. While the NASDAQ Composite closed Monday at over 10,000 for the second time in history, the Dow Jones Industrial Average Futures plunged by 398 points on the day.
President Trump walked back the remarks, saying, “The China Trade Deal is fully intact. Hopefully they will continue to live up to the terms of the Agreement!” Larry Kudlow, the director of the U.S. National Economic Council (NEC), told Axios that the deal is still in place, reiterating President Trump’s point.
Navarro has also walked back his remarks in a statement, saying that they were taken wildly out of context. “They had nothing at all to do with the Phase 1 trade deal, which continues in place,” he said. “I was simply speaking to the lack of trust we now have of the Chinese Communist Party after they lied about the origins of the China virus and foisted a pandemic upon the world.”