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COVID-19

Coronavirus likely to affect timing of phase one trade deal

Andy Uhler Feb 14, 2020
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Philip Fong/AFP via Getty Images
COVID-19

Coronavirus likely to affect timing of phase one trade deal

Andy Uhler Feb 14, 2020
Philip Fong/AFP via Getty Images
HTML EMBED:
COPY

China and the United States will both reduce tariffs on exports Friday as part of phase one of the new trade deal. China has promised to boost purchases of U.S. goods and services by $200 billion over the next two years.

But the Trump administration’s chief economic adviser, Larry Kudlow, told Fox Business last week that the “export boom from the trade deal will take longer because of the Chinese virus.”

“We’re tracking how quickly people are going back to work after the shutdown last week and the evidence so far is that hardly anyone is,” said Mark Williams, chief Asia economist at Capital Economics.

Phase one of the trade deal was supposed to reopen the Chinese market to American farmers, but they’re still not sending produce to China because neither demand nor buying power are not there. That’s especially bad news for American soy farmers anxious to get their produce back into the Chinese market.

Many experts have been comparing the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak to the SARS epidemic in 2003. But Ruomeng Cui, assistant professor of information systems and operations management at Emory University, said while SARS isn’t a bad reference point, this seems vastly different.

“I would predict the impact of coronavirus on the Chinese economy to be broader and more profound, compared to SARS,” she said.

More than 1,300 people have died as a result of COVID-19, which was first identified in December in Wuhan, the capital of China’s Hubei province.

COVID-19 Economy FAQs

What’s the outlook for vaccine supply?

Chief executives of America’s COVID-19 vaccine makers promised in congressional testimony to deliver the doses promised to the U.S. government by summer. The projections of confidence come after months of supply chain challenges and companies falling short of year-end projections for 2020. What changed? In part, drugmakers that normally compete are now actually helping one another. This has helped solve several supply chain issues, but not all of them.

How has the pandemic changed scientific research?

Over the past year, while some scientists turned their attention to COVID-19 and creating vaccines to fight it, most others had to pause their research — and re-imagine how to do it. Social distancing, limited lab capacity — “It’s less fun, I have to say. Like, for me the big part of the science is discussing the science with other people, getting excited about projects,” said Isabella Rauch, an immunologist at Oregon Health & Science University in Portland. Funding is also a big question for many.

What happened to all of the hazard pay essential workers were getting at the beginning of the pandemic?

Almost a year ago, when the pandemic began, essential workers were hailed as heroes. Back then, many companies gave hazard pay, an extra $2 or so per hour, for coming in to work. That quietly went away for most of them last summer. Without federal action, it’s mostly been up to local governments to create programs and mandates. They’ve helped compensate front-line workers, but they haven’t been perfect. “The solutions are small. They’re piecemeal,” said Molly Kinder at the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program. “You’re seeing these innovative pop-ups because we have failed overall to do something systematically.”

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