Chinese workers will take a little extra time to return to work as the country continues its fight against the coronavirus.
According to media reports, a deadline to return to work came and went on Monday, and a number of workers stayed home either on extended vacations or work-from-home arrangements. Many workers in the country had been taking part in new year's celebrations that led to an extended public holiday as the government sought to contain the spread of the virus, which has now killed more than 1,000 people and infected over 40,000 more in mainland China.
The impact of the coronavirus on the recently inked U.S.-China trade agreement is as yet unknown, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue told reporters at the U.S. Cattle Industry Convention in San Antonio last week.
Asked whether the U.S. should grant China any flexibility in meeting purchasing targets for “phase one” of the trade deal, the secretary said it was really too early to tell.
“We don’t know when this coronavirus will be corralled. I think it’s pretty scary out there right now,” Perdue said, adding that if the U.S. were in a similar situation, it would probably be seeking some wiggle room on purchasing commitments.
“We hope and pray that it can be contained very quickly,” Perdue said of the virus. Nevertheless, “These are some pretty hard-line numbers with enforceability provisions” and the U.S. will be monitoring Chinese purchases to see whether “they’re just shifting purchases to other places.”
Ultimately, however, Perdue said it would be up to President Donald Trump and the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative to enforce the deal.
China agreed to $40 billion in annual purchases of U.S. ag goods over the next two years as part of the "phase one" deal.
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