New Trump Administration Data Once Again Confirms His China Trade Deal Is A Failure

New data once again confirms that Trump’s China trade deal is a failure. After losing the trade war he started, Trump settled for a bad deal that didn’t even undo the damage he caused from his trade war. And he was so eager to secure it that he ignored warnings and let China off the hook on the coronavirus, which has cost over 210,000 American lives and wreaked havoc on our economy. Now, China isn’t even living up to its purchase agreements. Trump promised to get tough on China, but he got played instead.

New data from Trump’s Commerce Department confirmed that after eight months, China has only bought one-third of its purchase commitments for 2020 and is even $10 billion behind pre-trade war levels.

Forbes: “China Is Not Even Close To Meeting Phase One Trade Deal Agreements”

Fortune: “All told, China pro-rated target for the first eight months is $95 billion (representing 2/3 of the calendar year’s $142.7 billion). But so far this year, the world’s second largest economy imported almost precisely half that number, $47.6 billion, is U.S. products. Put simply, China’s made good on just one-third of its pledge for 2020. The agreement didn’t cover 39% of the products American businesses shipped to China in 2017, an area that includes technology gear from PCs to semiconductors. In that ‘uncovered’ category, our exports totaled $19.1 billion through July, 30% below the same period in 2017.”

January 2020-August 2020: The U.S. exported $69.6 billion in goods to China.

January 2017-August 2017: The U.S. Exported $79.6  Billion In Goods To China.

China fell far behind on its purchases in key sectors.

Forbes: “But the ‘super great’ phase one trade deal that President Trump got done last year is nowhere near the commitments China made in terms of imports.  Not for manufactured goods. Not for agriculture commodities. And not for Energy exports, either. China, as of July 2020, is not even half way there on any of these three items.”

Reuters: “China is falling far short of a promised additional $77 billion in purchases of U.S. farm and manufactured products, energy and services, although it has ramped up purchases of U.S. farm goods including soybeans and corn in recent weeks.  Imports of farm goods have been lower than 2017 levels, far behind the 50% increase needed to meet the 2020 target of $36.5 billion.  Beijing has bought only 5% of the energy products needed to meet the Phase 1 first year goal of $25.3 billion.”

Trump failed to address the substantive trade issues with China and settled for a deal that didn’t even undo the damage from his trade war.

Axios: “With tariffs still in place on most Chinese exports to the U.S. and on many Chinese imports from the U.S., businesses and consumers are still paying the trade wars costs, but are seeing less than half of the purported benefits from the conflict’s lone agreement.  In particular, American farmers, who have suffered greatly from the trade war, were anticipating a boost from the increased Chinese purchases after retaliation from Beijing caused a severe decline in commodity prices and exports last year.”

Washington Post Fact Checker: “Trump said China was ‘more than living up to’ its commitments under his signature trade deal. The facts show the opposite. Instead of booming past 2017 levels, Chinese purchases of U.S. goods are in decline this year.  Six months of data show Chinese purchases are far behind the target for 2020, to say nothing of 2021. None of the analysts we surveyed thought these goals were realistic to begin with or plausible now, amid an economic slowdown and a pandemic.”

Financial Times: “During the 2016 campaign, Mr Trump pledged to get much tougher on trade with China, which he accused of ‘raping’ the US. After launching a trade war with Beijing, he secured a limited trade deal in January. But that agreement looks wobbly and the trade deficit remains stubbornly high.  The US trade deficit in goods with China in 2016 was $347bn. For 2019, it was only marginally lower at $345bn.”

Despite data to the contrary, the Trump administration continues to take China at its word that they’re living up to the trade deal.

TRUMP: “I’m having a hard time with China, I really am. You know, they’re buying a lot, the trade deal’s incredible. Uh, they have been living up to it in all fairness.”

TRUMP: “They are living — they are more than living up to it. Last week — because they know I’m very angry at them, because this should have never happened. They made the largest order of corn, the largest order of soybeans in history. They made the largest beef order that they’ve done in a long time.”

LIGHTHIZER: “Every contact I’ve had with the Chinese, they have reaffirmed their commitment to living up to the agreement.”

MNUCHIN: “I have every expectation that they will. They have continued to tell us they will, as recently as last week when Secretary Pompeo met with one of the senior people who flew in from China and they had a summit. So I have that expectation that they will live up to their obligation.”

KUDLOW: “Well, look, it—that was originally scheduled as a normal review of the Phase One trade deal. Another, I might add, President Trump accomplishment.  Actually, you know, you talked about Lighthizer, our trade ambassador. They’re doing basically what they should be doing. They’re buying a ton of commodities, particularly agriculture commodities. It’s probably the best since we’ve seen in at least a half a dozen years.”

TRUMP: “They’ve been living up to the deal. They’re buying a lot of — a lot of things. They never had any deal. They just came in and took advantage of the United States. Took out hundreds of billions of dollars a year. So they don’t do that anymore.”

Trump has even repeatedly claimed China would buy as much as $300 billion a year—but they’re nowhere close.

TRUMP: “But– the deal is a phenomenal deal. We will take in $250 billion– they’re going to be buying $250 billion, and it could go a lot higher than that.”

TRUMP: “So we’ll be taking in an excess of $200 billion; could be closer to $300 billion when it finishes.”

TRUMP: “I did a trade deal with China, where China is supposed to be spending $250 billion in our country.”