The so-called "phase one" of Trump's "greatest and best deal ever" does not include any new structural reforms that China hasn't already implemented and Trump regime officials say those reforms will be in a hypothetical phase two, but is that likely at all?
China's ruling party just completed an annual meeting in Beijing where the general message was that they won't give Trump anything if he won't roll back his tariffs.
Some Chinese officials also expect as we do that Trump could still back out of "phase one" and escalate.
In private conversations with visitors to Beijing and other interlocutors in recent weeks, Chinese officials have warned they won’t budge on the thorniest issues, according to people familiar with the matter. They remain concerned about President Donald Trump’s impulsive nature and the risk he may back out of even the limited deal both sides say they want to sign in the coming weeks.
Chinese policy makers concluded a key political gathering in Beijing on Thursday. In meetings ahead of that plenum some officials have relayed low expectations that future negotiations could result in anything meaningful -- unless the U.S. is willing to roll back more of the tariffs.
In related news, Trump tweeted something curious yesterday.
Trump indicated that if he does sign something later this month, it may actually include less than we're currently led to believe. Trump said whatever he signs will be "60%" of a deal.
China and the USA are working on selecting a new site for signing of Phase One of Trade Agreement, about 60% of total deal, after APEC in Chile was canceled do to unrelated circumstances. The new location will be announced soon. President Xi and President Trump will do signing!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 31, 2019
Rather than taking this as a sign that "phase one" will be reduced in scope, we could look at it the other way and assume it will be 60 percent of all future negotiations and deals.
If the latter is the case, that's not good news for anyone who was hoping Trump may eventually end his whole trade war. Phase one will freeze his trade war in place, not begin to roll it back.
Of course, it's also possible and even likely that Trump pulled a number out of his ass and it should not be taken with any gravity at all.