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US-China Phase One Watered-down Weak Trade Deal? Is it worth it?

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It is becoming clear that the US and China are looking for a trade deal, that seems more political than economic. The more we read, the more we understand that a deal is being forced by some elements in the China camp while Trump is likely trying to deflect attention from himself – impeachment – to a so-called win on the trade front. And we must be skeptical as the idea of a trade deal would help Mr Trump, something that China wants to avoid as they would feel more comfortable with a Democrat in office. Mr Stephen Roach of Yale is now saying that a “Phase One deal is phony and would do nothing……..for US families and consumers.” Mr Roach is a Yale University Jackson Institute of Global Affairs professor, and of course he does truly understand China and the Far East.

The US President said he would address issues of US intellectual property rights, as well as agricultural goods access and of course the overall access of financial firms in the China market. If the US does not sign a deal by the 15th of December, this issue might be kicked down the road, allowing Mr Trump to pick up the issue in early 2020. President Xi of China seems to need a deal but he must deal with hard-line members of the leadership in Beijing, claiming that there was 100 years of humiliation in China at the hands of the West – they want to avoid a bad trade deal and the embarrassment of bowing to Western nations. China is stronger now and can impose its will on the US and others, or can they?

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