Last week we learned that China has only purchased about 5 percent of the American energy products that Trump promised they would under "phase one" of his "biggest and greatest deal," but that is evidently not the only target they're missing.
Trump's big deal stipulated that China would more than double their imports of American goods compared to what they imported in 2017 before Trump's trade war began, but at the current rate they may not even match 2017's total.
According to data compiled by the Peterson Institute for International Economics (PIIE), Chinese agricultural purchases at the end of June were far from where they should be at this point in the year.
They had reached only 39 percent of their semi-annual target, according to US figures, or 48 percent, based on Chinese figures.
"If we get back to what the level of trade was in 2017, we'll be lucky," said Chad Bown, a PIIE senior fellow who authored the study, referring to the year before the trade war began.
If they only reached about 40 percent of their semi-annual target, then they've only purchased about 20 percent of their yearly or annual target.
You might say that's not entirely surprising given that a global pandemic has greatly weakened consumer demand, but China's economy has not been crippled to the degree that ours has because they've actually been able to establish control of their outbreaks.
The next presidential administration will have to establish a new framework for cooperation with China just restore American exports to where they were before Trump.
Much has been written about our "decoupling" from China possibly continuing even after Trump is gone, but that does not seem like a realistic option. That would mean American businesses losing access to the largest consumer population in the world, the largest middle class in the world, and their top destination for exports even today.
Either we want them to buy our shit, watch our movies, and listen to our music today and in the future, or we don't.