AS TRADE DEALS go, the one struck — if not yet signed, sealed and delivered — between the United States and China scarcely deserves the name.
The Trump administration will suspend the implementation of further tariffs on China’s exports in return for Beijing buying U.S. farm produce in some volume and making some gestures over financial services, currency and intellectual property.
The gimlet-eyed will see the Chinese concessions as a repackaging of previous offers. The United States, for its part, is merely holding off implementing new tariffs, not lifting any of those already in place.
Much play is being made of the fact that the deal is being ‘papered’ in time for a grand signing by presidents Donald Trump and Xi Jinping at the APEC meeting in Chile in November. To this Bystander that smacks of political posturing more than a deal of substance. Both leaders need a truce in the US-China trade war before it does more damage to their respective economies.
That is what will be declared in Chile. The thorniest issues in the relationship will be kicked down the road, certainly beyond the US presidential election in November 2020 when this agreement, scant though it is, will no doubt be hailed by the US president as another promise kept.