Trump regime officials who've spoken to the press say they're made progress on structural reforms during trade talks with China and that some of those reforms could be included in "phase one" of Trump's "greatest and biggest deal ever," but is that actually true?
According to Bloomberg, the answer is both yes and no.
The reforms that could be included in the deal are not new; they're things that China has already done throughout the past the year.
From the beginning, the administration’s big target in its “Section 301” fight against China has been forcing an end to what the U.S. sees as a systematic and state-backed Chinese theft of American intellectual property. Included in the deal being finalized are commitments by China. But they are largely actions China has taken already. It passed new IP and foreign investment laws earlier this year that address the issue. It has also already set up new IP courts to prosecute cases. As always with China, the key is whether authorities enforce the laws.
Bloomberg also reports that lifting caps on foreign ownership of financial services companies is also part of the deal, but they've already lifted those caps.
Given that China has already implemented these changes over the last 10 months, I'm not sure if its even accurate to report that it's part of a new deal.
Spinning these as "new" commitments is certainly politically beneficial to the Trump regime, but China did not make these reforms just to please Trump; they were done to open up Chinese markets to other countries while Trump has waged a perpetual trade war that won't actually end if this "deal" is signed next month.
All of Trump's current tariffs (on about $400 billion in goods) will remain on the books under the current terms of the deal according to Bloomberg and that means China's retaliatory tariffs will remain in place as well.
I expect American markets will surge if and when this empty deal is signed next month, but I doubt their jubilation will last very long. The sugar high will fade as soon as everyone realizes this deal will actually lock Trump's trade war in place for at least the next year. This will make his tariffs more or less permanent.
The agricultural purchases included in phase one of Trump's "greatest and biggest deal ever" will be based on demand and market conditions -- market conditions including tariffs that remain in place -- so when the dust settles after the holiday season I think we're going to look back and see that this deal is even more inconsequential than it looks right now.