President Donald Trump suggested work on the second phase of a US-China trade deal has become a low priority, saying the two nation’s relationship has been “severely damaged” by Beijing’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
Trump, speaking aboard Air Force One on his way to Miami on Friday, repeated his persistent criticism that China could have done more to stop the spread of the virus, which originated in Wuhan province.
Trump did not completely rule out working on phase two of the deal but made clear that it was not a top concern.
“Honestly, I have many other things in mind,” Trump said.
The United States and China signed phase one of a trade agreement in January, boosting stock markets and seemingly ending a trade war. Trump has said he would like to wait until after the election to sign phase two because he thought he’d get a better deal.