What Does the ‘Phase One’ U.S.-China Trade Deal Actually Accomplish?

What Does the ‘Phase One’ U.S.-China Trade Deal Actually Accomplish?
President Donald Trump and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He hold up the signed “phase one” trade deal in the East Room of the White House, Washington, Jan. 15, 2020 (AP photo by Evan Vucci).

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

With the signing of a “phase one” trade deal Wednesday, the United States and China have finally pressed pause on their protracted trade war. At a White House signing ceremony that was attended by Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, President Donald Trump called the pact a “sea change in international trade.” But what does it actually accomplish?

At the center of the agreement are commitments from China to purchase an additional $200 billion in American goods and services over two years. Beijing is expected to remove some tariffs on American products, while Washington agreed to partially roll back levies it imposed in September. But the majority of tariffs Trump has slapped on $360 billion worth of Chinese imports will remain in place, and the deal allows for punitive measures if China does not live up to its obligations.

Keep reading for free!

Get instant access to the rest of this article by submitting your email address below. You'll also get access to three articles of your choice each month and our free newsletter:

Or, Subscribe now to get full access.

Already a subscriber? Log in here .

What you’ll get with an All-Access subscription to World Politics Review:

A WPR subscription is like no other resource — it’s like having a personal curator and expert analyst of global affairs news. Subscribe now, and you’ll get:

  • Immediate and instant access to the full searchable library of tens of thousands of articles.
  • Daily articles with original analysis, written by leading topic experts, delivered to you every weekday.
  • Regular in-depth articles with deep dives into important issues and countries.
  • The Daily Review email, with our take on the day’s most important news, the latest WPR analysis, what’s on our radar, and more.
  • The Weekly Review email, with quick summaries of the week’s most important coverage, and what’s to come.
  • Completely ad-free reading.

And all of this is available to you when you subscribe today.