CNN) As coronavirus cases in the US surge, President Donald Trump isn’t focused just on those statistics, administration officials say, but is also watching another set of numbers: exports to China. The President gets regular briefings on agriculture sales to China and monitors those figures almost as closely as his White House pandemic team tracks statistics on the coronavirus, which had surpassed more than 121,000 cases and more than 2,000 deaths in the US by Saturday. […] Read More Trump’s top trade negotiators had priorities that differed from the President’s during trade talks with China prior to the signing of a Phase One deal in January, several sources familiar with the discussions told CNN. Now, while some administration officials blame Beijing for the coronavirus outbreak, and after Trump himself linked China to the virus , the President has adopted a noticeably softer tone, weighing criticism of the Communist Party against the importance of trade negotiations between the two countries. […] He has remained fixated on that issue even as the coronoavirus outbreak continues to spread across the US, receiving regular updates from Perdue on how much China has been buying in the weeks since coronavirus reached US shores White House postpones trade meeting as coronavirus spreads Two days before Trump referenced agriculture sales to China from the White House podium, US exporters reported daily sales of 756,000 tons of corn and 340,000 tons of wheat to China. […] Yet Trump has continued to tout US sales of farm product to China as a metric of success and to signal that protecting trade relations with Beijing remains a priority amid increasing tensions between the two countries.
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