Economic Affairs

US-China trade deal: More optics than substance

It's a superficial deal riddled with flaws

The so-called phase one trade deal, which was signed last week by US President Donald Trump and Chinese Vice-Premier Liu He, has been trumpeted in Washington, greeted with muted approval in Beijing, and viewed by many analysts as putting a floor on the long-running trade dispute between China and the United States.

Politically, it is seen as a masterstroke by Mr Trump, who can claim to have de-escalated trade tensions and secured concessions from China that would benefit large sections of his base, especially in US farm states; it serves also to boost his support among Republicans - and capture national attention - just when the Senate is beginning its impeachment hearings against him.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 22, 2020, with the headline 'US-China trade deal: More optics than substance'. Subscribe