Trump once said "phase one" of a trade deal with China would be his personal "greatest and biggest deal ever," but he has now escalated that claim by saying it will be one of the "most important deals" in the history of trade. You know, a history that includes things like NAFTA, TPP, and the European Union.
But I digress. How close to a done deal is the "most important" deal ever?
Stocks surged as the Trump regime engaged in more happy talk today, but while they said a lot of words, they also didn't say much at all. Regime officials say they're close to a deal while Trump says he wants to see Chinese President Xi Jinping resolve unrest in Hong Kong in some unspecified way.
“We’re in the final throes of a very important deal, I guess you could say one of the most important deals in trade ever. It’s going very well but at the same time we want to see it go well in Hong Kong,” Trump told reporters at the White House.
“I think that President Xi can make that happen. I know him and I know he’d like to make it happen,” Trump said, without elaborating on what exactly he expected Xi to do. [...]
His remarks followed a telephone call on Tuesday by U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin with Chinese Vice Premier Liu that was disclosed by China’s Commerce Ministry.
It said the negotiators discussed core issues related to the phase one deal and reached “a common understanding on resolving relevant problems.”
I've read this phrase -- "a common understanding on resolving relevant problems" -- several times over and I've concluded that it means absolutely nothing.
It appears to me that both sides are waiting for each other to blink and, in Trump's case, if things don't work out he's clearly laying the groundwork to point fingers at Hong Kong or Xi Jinping personally.
There's nothing that would convince me that Trump cares about or even understands the situation in Hong Kong, but he does at least understand that he can use it as a scapegoat should his 'most important deal ever' fall apart.
China's foreign ministry has invited Trump's trade representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin to Bejing for another round of face-to-face talks, but they still haven't formally accepted the invitation. It's clear that Trump's deal won't be ready to sign on the sidelines of the upcoming NATO summit and Lighthizer and Mnuchin may not even travel to China before then.
This is likely the final update about the current status of negotiations before the long holiday weekend.