Editor’s note for Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Dear Access member,

My cynical views of Donald Trump and the Chinese Communist Party are rarely challenged by reality, but golly gosh: They signed the phase one trade deal! See our top story for details on the signing ceremony and what’s in the agreement. This is the short version:

China promised to buy $200 billion in American goods over the next two years, comprising:

  • Manufacturing/industrial goods: $77.7 billion
  • Energy exports: $52.4
  • Services: $37.9 billion
  • Agricultural products: $32 billion  

America promised to cease new tariffs. China also avoided making serious concessions on industrial subsidies and other policies that irk the U.S.  

My cynicism may still be justified: The devil is in the details and the implementation. Anyone who has done business in China knows that sometimes the real negotiations start after the contract is signed.

More disconcertingly, the Chinese-language version of the text does not seem to have been made public. That’s a real problem. And in the speech given by Vice-Premier Liú Hè 刘鹤 at the signing ceremony (see Youtube video), he mentioned that Chinese purchases would be according to “market demand.”  

Finally, tomorrow, Thursday, January 16, at 7:00 p.m. EST, rock star China investment and economic analyst Andy Rothman will join us for a SupChina Direct conference call. Access members can dial in for free — please click here for more information and to register.

Our word of the day is make a speech (致辞 zhì cí), the characters used by Xinhua News Agency to describe a half hour of boastful rambling by Donald Trump today, and the stiff officialese response from Liu He. Read on for details.

—Jeremy Goldkorn, Editor-in-Chief