Beijing says it will not allow the US to use the coronavirus outbreak that is devastating the Chinese economy for leverage in upcoming trade talks scheduled later this year, according to state media.
Chinese state-media have released reports stating the US is calculating ways to use the viral outbreak to their advantage after a nearly two year trade war that ended when a Phase One trade deal was finalized last month.
“Such moves are wrong on so many levels, including on a moral level,” read a report released by state-media today. “Also important is that if US officials are counting on the epidemic to gain more leverage for the phase two trade negotiations, they are gravely mistaken.”
US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross said last week the US economy will benefit from the viral outbreak as US firms will bring back manufacturing from China’s mainland due to the suspension in activities.
“I don’t want to talk about a victory lap over a very unfortunate, very malignant disease,” said Ross in an interview on US TV on Thursday. “But the fact is, it does give businesses another thing to consider when they go through their review of their supply chain.”
″I think it will help to accelerate the return of jobs to North America,” he said.
The US government issued a “do not travel to China” advisory on Friday, raising the warning from level 3 to level 4.
“Do not travel to China due to novel coronavirus first identified in Wuhan, China,” stated the US government.
Beijing expects the pandemic to severely harm economic growth as Chinese stocks collapsed by nine percent as trading began after the extended Lunar New Year holiday today.
China’s central bank said on Sunday it pumped $173 billion into the economy to make sure there was enough liquidity in financial institutions.
Beijing expects the coronavirus to lower growth by two percent in the first quarter of 2020 but will not let a vulnerable economy limit them to fight back against US pressure on trade.
“China will not and cannot give ground on core issues of national interests in the trade talks, particularly at such a difficult time,” read a commentary from state-media.
“Also important to note is that China is now even more unlikely to rush into phase two talks as it has diverted its full focus onto containing the outbreak and its impact on the domestic economy,” it added.