Turns out “phase one” was only a done deal in Trump’s head.
Date: October 14, 2019
By: Bess Levin
Last week, amid reports of ISIS prisoners escaping in northern Syria, the president’s defense attorney being criminally investigated, and the continued fallout from Ukraine/Biden/“do us a favor”-gate, markets received a rare bit of good news when Donald Trump announced that the United States had reached a “very substantial phase-one deal” with China. “The deal I just made with China is, by far, the greatest and biggest deal ever made for our Great Patriot Farmers in the history of our Country,” the president tweeted. “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!” Given the negative impact Trump’s never-ending trade war has had on the economy, such news would of course be thrilling to investors, companies, consumers, and the farmers the dealmaker in chief cares so deeply for, but, as it turns out, the “greatest and biggest deal ever” doesn’t actually appear to have any basis in reality. Which is another way of saying it sure sounds like the president lied about negotiations with China, again.
Bloomberg reports that China wants another round of talks before even thinking about signing “phase one” of the trade deal, according to people familiar with the matter. Despite Trump’s all-caps claim on Sunday that “CHINA HAS ALREADY BEGUN AGRICULTURAL PURCHASES FROM OUR GREAT PATRIOT FARMERS & RANCHERS!,” Beijing’s state-run media said only that the two sides had “agreed to make joint efforts toward eventually reaching an agreement.” An op-ed that ran in China Daily over the weekend cautioned, “Let’s nail down ‘phase one’ before moving to the next. 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.” In a statement, Geng Shuang, a foreign ministry spokesman, said that while progress had been made, there is still work to be done, and that he hoped “the U.S. will work with China and meet each other halfway.” Stocks opened lower on Monday after surging on Friday.
Of course, this is far from the first time Trump has lied through his caps when it comes to a trade deal. Back in December 2018, he boasted to reporters that he’d struck an “incredible” trade deal with Chinese President Xi Jinping that blew up in his face a mere 24 hours later. In August, a breakthrough call with China turned out to actually have never happened. So you can kind of see how there might be some distrust there. [FULL STORY]