TRUMP: “The deal I just made with China is, by far, the greatest and biggest deal ever made for our Great Patriot Farmers in the history of our Country.” — tweet Saturday.
TRUMP: “Start thinking about getting bigger tractors!” — tweet Saturday.
THE FACTS: Not so fast. No final trade agreement has been reached.
It’s true that U.S. and China declared a temporary truce in their 15-month trade war. As part of a cease-fire deal announced Friday, China agreed to buy up to $50 billion in U.S. farm products, while the Trump administration said it would suspend a tariff increase on $250 billion worth of Chinese imports that was set to take effect Tuesday.
However, negotiators reached their tentative agreement only in principle. No documents have been signed. A final deal could still fall through, though Trump told reporters Friday he didn’t think that would happen.
Many of the details remained to be worked out. Some of the thorniest issues — such as U.S. allegations that China forces foreign companies to hand over trade secrets — were dealt with only partially, or not at all, and will require further talks.
“The president is acting as if a lot of Chinese concessions have been nailed down, and they just haven’t,” said Derek Scissors, a China specialist at the conservative American Enterprise Institute.
The administration still has in place tariffs on more than $360 billion worth of Chinese imports. Beijing has lashed back by taxing about $120 billion in U.S. goods, focusing on soybeans and other agricultural products.
Meanwhile, the threat of escalation still hangs over the two countries. Trump has yet to drop plans to impose tariffs that are set to take effect Dec. 15 on an additional $160 billion in Chinese products — a move that would extend the sanctions to just about everything China ships to the United States.