China Buys Just 5 Percent of Trump’s Trade Promise

Written by SK Ashby

If China was ever going to increase their purchases of American goods by as much as Trump promised they would under "phase one" of his "biggest and greatest deal ever," it was going to require significantly more imports of American energy products like oil and liquefied natural gas.

The coronavirus pandemic and global recession have already taken a significant toll on global trade and American exports which have fallen by a far greater amount than imports have. Additionally, Bloomberg reports that China has hardly increased their imports of American energy products at all.

They've only purchased 5 percent of what Trump promised.

BEIJING/SINGAPORE (Reuters) - China bought only 5% of the targeted $25.3 billion in energy products from the United States in the first half of 2020, falling well short of its trade deal commitments at a time when relations between the two top economies are already sour. [...]

While Chinese purchases of U.S. products accelerated recently, analysts say weak energy prices and worsening relations means Beijing may undershoot its full-year goal in the Phase 1 deal agreed in January.

"China is unlikely to fulfil its Phase 1 commitments as they were overly ambitious to begin with," said Michal Meidan, a director at the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies, adding she expected Beijing to step up purchases to show goodwill.

To say that phase one was "overly ambitious" is a bit of an understatement. I would call it fantastical.

The idea that China would more than double their imports of American goods in just two years at a time when global demand was already falling was always a fantasy. And this was all true even before the coronavirus pandemic began.

Nothing about this is out of the ordinary for Trump; a man who has overseen the conception of one failed "deal" after another his entire life. The outcome of Trump's dealings with China have not been materially different than his dealings with casinos or failed sports leagues. Only the consequences have been far more significant as they've affected the entire world instead of just Atlantic City.