China has boosted its purchase of US goods as part of Phase One trade deal

China increased its purchases of American goods in September, a report that comes as the State Department announced it stands by a deal to sell weapons to Taiwan that prompted Beijing to slap sanctions on US military contractors.

The Communist Party government bought a record-high $9.9 billion worth of US goods last month– oil, soybean and car imports surged as the Chinese economy began to strengthen– but it is still far behind the yearly target laid out in the Phase One trade deal between Beijing and Washington, Bloomberg News reported Tuesday.

China is only at 38.5 percent of fulfilling the deal’s target of more than $170 billion for the year, an analysis of Customs Administration data by Bloomberg found.

Under the deal signed in January, China vowed to buy an additional $200 billion of US goods over the level of 2017 by the end of 2021, but the coronavirus pandemic put a damper on demand in the first quarter.

Meanwhile, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said Monday that China will slap sanctions on Boeing Co.’s defense unit, Lockheed Martin Corp. and Raytheon Technologies Corp.

The response comes a week after the State Department signed off on the sale of $1.8 billion worth of military equipment to Taiwan, a territory that China considers a “rogue province.”

Sure to inflame tensions between the two countries even more, the Trump administration notified Congress that it backs a $2.4 billion deal to sell as many as 100 Harpoon Coastal Defense Systems to Taiwan, Bloomberg News reported.

Taiwan war planes are parked on a highway during an exercise to simulate a response to a Chinese attack on its airfields in Changhua
Taiwan war planes are parked on a highway during an exercise to simulate a response to a Chinese attack on its airfields in ChanghuaAP

The deal would include 400 land-based rockets.

“The United States maintains an abiding interest in peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait and considers the security of Taiwan central to the security and stability of the broader Indo-Pacific region,” the State Department said in a statement.

China said on Tuesday that it would take “necessary measures” to protect its security interests.

“We urge the U.S. side to stop arms sales and military contact with Taiwan and withdraw the arms sales plan to avoid harming China-U.S. relations as well as cross-strait peace and stability,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said.

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