WASHINGTON — The Trump administration’s top trade negotiator defended the president’s economic agreement with China on Wednesday, saying that Beijing was buying more American products and had reaffirmed its commitment to live up to the deal.
In remarks to Congress, Robert E. Lighthizer, the United States trade representative, instead reserved his harshest criticism for the World Trade Organization, which he called “a mess,” and the European Union, which he said could face tariffs if it did not agree to a trade deal.
Mr. Lighthizer said his office was closely tracking China’s purchases of American goods, which were agreed to in a pact in January, and was in frequent contact with Chinese officials. China has committed to buying an additional $200 billion of American products by the end of next year. That is a goal many analysts said was unrealistic even before the pandemic, which has suppressed consumer demand, disrupted supply chains and caused a crash in oil prices, resulting in purchases that are even lower than anticipated.
“Every indication is that in spite of this Covid-19, they are going to do what they say,” Mr. Lighthizer said of the Chinese.
Mr. Lighthizer also praised the administration’s trade record, including new or revised deals it has signed with Japan, Canada and Mexico that he said had improved the terms of trade for