Can the Limited U.S.-China Trade Deal Move Past ‘Phase One’?

Can the Limited U.S.-China Trade Deal Move Past ‘Phase One’?
U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He in the Oval Office of the White House, Washington, Oct. 11, 2019 (AP photo by Andrew Harnik).

Editor’s Note: Every Wednesday, WPR Newsletter and Engagement Editor Benjamin Wilhelm curates the week’s top news and expert analysis on China.

On Friday, U.S. President Donald Trump hailed a preliminary trade agreement reached in principle with China, calling it “the greatest and biggest deal ever.” But there was no public mention of the deal in Beijing over the weekend, and Chinese state media warned against being “overly optimistic” about trade talks, leading to speculation that the deal would fall apart before even being signed.

On Tuesday, Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang finally confirmed the tentative deal and said China was “on the same page” as Washington in trade negotiations. Nevertheless, even if negotiators finalize the agreement, progress toward a more comprehensive pact could be hindered by domestic politics and a lack of trust between both countries’ senior leadership.

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