Foreign Policy

China 'Broke' Deal on U.S. Trade Talks

Trump calls out Beijing's attempt to sneakily change the deal in its favor.

Political Editors · May 10, 2019

Effective at 12:01 ET this morning, President Donald Trump raised tariffs from 10% to 25% on $200 billion in Chinese imports — a move that surprised many who had assumed a new trade agreement was close at hand. “They broke the deal,” Trump asserted, adding, “so they’re flying in, the vice premier … is flying in — good man — but they broke the deal. They can’t do that, so they’ll be paying.”

Reuters reports that upon receiving a diplomatic cable from Beijing late last Friday of the nearly 150-page draft agreement, it became apparent to the Trump administration that “systematic edits” had been made and “the document was riddled with reversals by China that undermined core U.S. demands.”

Reuters further reports, “In each of the seven chapters of the draft trade deal, China had deleted its commitments to change laws to resolve core complaints that caused the United States to launch a trade war: Theft of U.S. intellectual property and trade secrets; forced technology transfers; competition policy; access to financial services; and currency manipulation.”

To put it simply, the Chinese are not negotiating in good faith, and Trump believes he knows why. “The reason for the China pullback & attempted renegotiation of the Trade Deal is the sincere HOPE that they will be able to ‘negotiate’ with Joe Biden or one of the very weak Democrats, and thereby continue to ripoff the United States ($500 Billion a year) for years to come.” That said, Trump has still left the door open for further negotiations, noting that Chinese Vice Premier Liu was “now coming to the U.S. to make a deal.” Maybe Beijing will take the president more seriously now.

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