So Where’s the Text of Trump’s Great Trade Deal With China?

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Just a quick note that we’re still waiting to see the actual text of President Trump’s “phase one” trade deal with China. It’s supposedly waiting on translation and legal review, but that’s just a pretext. The real issue is almost certainly different: it doesn’t bind China to buy $50 billion worth of agricultural products, as Trump and his team have been loudly claiming for the past week.

This is typical Trump. Get headlines with a big claim and then wait a while to release the details. By then nobody cares anymore and the details get a small blurb on page A17 and become yet another entry on the many “Trump Lies” lists that we’re all keeping. But the big claim is what most people remember.

For the record, then: the China deal will turn out to have virtually no binding commitments for China to buy anything. They will continue to buy the stuff they need and Trump will pretend that it’s a huge win even though trade figures will make it plain that China is buying no more from us than they always have.

I will of course keep you updated if I turn out to be wrong. But don’t hold your breath for that.

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