ith Donald Trump celebrating his long-awaited “deal” with China that will end the trade war between the world’s two largest economies, you might be surprised to learn that nothing has been signed yet and that there may still be quite a few kinks to work out.
Over the weekend, Trump proudly tweeted that his “Phase One” deal with China would be “by far, the greatest and biggest deal ever made for our Great Patriot Farmers in the history of our Country” before going on to praise other aspects of the alleged agreement.
….Other aspects of the deal are also great – technology, financial services, 16-20 Billion in Boeing Planes etc., but WOW, the Farmers really hit pay dirt! @ChuckGrassley @joniernst @debfisher @BenSasse Thank you to all Republicans in Congress for your invaluable help!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 12, 2019
However, China has been considerably more quiet about the purported deal. On Monday, both Bloomberg and CNBC reported that the Chinese side was likely to want more talks this month to hammer out details before Xi Jinping agreed to sign the deal with one important goal being to get the US to scrap tariff spikes planned for December.
So far, the only tangible result of the latest round of talks between the two countries has been the Trump administration suspending a tariff increase on $250 billion in Chinese goods which was to take effect this week.
Trump has tweeted that China has already started buying agricultural products from the US as part of the deal, but it’s unclear where he’s getting that from.
The president has claimed that China has agreed to buy $40 to $50 billion of American farm goods. When asked about this assertion, a senior Asia commodity analyst told Reuters that he believed it was “a meaningless big number, thrown out to get headlines, and won’t happen.”
For comparison, China spent $24 billion on American agricultural goods in 2017.
CHINA HAS ALREADY BEGUN AGRICULTURAL PURCHASES FROM OUR GREAT PATRIOT FARMERS & RANCHERS!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 13, 2019
China’s own description of the trade talks makes little mention of US farm goods. While Chinese state media reports say that the two sides have made “substantial progress” towards a deal, they don’t quite meet Trump’s level of enthusiasm.
Here’s a few paragraphs from a China Daily editorial:
But while the negotiations do appear to have produced a fundamental understanding on the key issues and the broader benefits of friendly relations, the Champagne should probably be kept on ice, at least until the two presidents put pen to paper, as based on its past practice, there is always the possibility that Washington may decide to cancel the deal if it thinks that doing so will better serve its interests.
The US should avoid backpedaling, as it has in the past, and instead cherish what has been achieved as a manifestation of a healthy and steady China-US relationship that serves the interests of both countries and the world.