News and Analysis

China Fails On $200 Billion Trump Trade Deal, Purchased No New U.S. Exports: Study

   DailyWire.com
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 15 : President Donald J. Trump signs a trade agreement with Chinese Vice Premier of the People's Republic of China, Liu He in the East Room at the White House on Wednesday, Jan 15, 2020 in Washington, DC.
Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

China failed to live up to the first phase of its trade commitment to buy an additional $200 billion of U.S. exports, according to a new study.

In fact, despite agreeing to “Phase 1” of the trade deal brokered by former President Donald Trump two years ago, the Chinese Communist Party didn’t even spend a single additional dollar on U.S. exports.

Under the agreement, China said that it would buy at least $227.9 billion of U.S. exports in 2020, which would increase to $274.5 billion in 2021, totaling to $502.4 billion over two years. In reality, China only purchased just over half that amount.

Trump celebrated this trade deal in January of 2020, saying that it would be a welcome news for many U.S. industries, including agriculture.

“The agreement tears down major market barriers for U.S. food and agricultural exports. China will now welcome American beef, and pork, poultry, seafood, rice, dairy, infant formula, animal feed, biotechnology and much, much more,” Trump said at the time.

The Biden administration is now criticizing the deal, calling it “unrealistic” and lacking a way to hold China accountable. White House official Brian Deese said that the Biden administration would hold China accountable for their commitments, but didn’t clearly explain what would be done differently.

“We’re taking a different approach. Number one, holding China accountable where they have made commitments to say if you’re not going to live up to these commitments we need to take a different approach. Number two, to really focus on those areas where Chinese action is posing strategic threats to our economy,” Deese said.

Multiple factors played into China’s failure to meet their trade commitments, beyond their own international economic ambitions which U.S. exports could potentially impede. These include the preceding trade war between the U.S. and China which meant that U.S. exporters were already running behind schedule, and more specific issues, such as two Boeing 737 Max crashes which halted production and resulted in canceled Chinese  orders.

“President Trump’s trade war and phase one agreement did little to change China’s economic policymaking,” wrote the study’s author, Chad Bown. “Beijing seems intent on becoming more state centered and less market oriented.”

However, according to Walter Lohman, director of the Asian Studies Center at the Heritage Foundation, the trade deal was destined to fail.

“The idea of locking China into certain quotas … I think it was a flawed concept to begin with,” Lohman said. “It just wasn’t the way to go about things.”

Lohman told FOX Business that one of the trade deal’s objectives was to address Chinese theft of U.S. intellectual property, and that China were aiming to “wait the Trump administration out,” with no likely intention of meeting the economic targets.

“The companies have often given away their property as the cost of doing business,” he said. “It’s basically illegal in international trade law to demand someone gives you their intellectual property as a cost of business, but the Chinese do it, and the companies do it.” 

“Some of the companies even offer it up to favor the Chinese, and then the market doesn’t work out for them, and then years later they complain about their technology being coerced away from them,” Lohman added.

Ian Haworth is an Editor and Writer for The Daily Wire. Follow him on Twitter at @ighaworth.

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