US President Donald Trump has taken to Twitter to celebrate a partial trade deal struck with Beijing, presenting it as the “greatest and biggest deal ever made” for American farmers.
“The deal I just made with China is, by far, the greatest and biggest deal ever made for our Great Patriot Farmers in the history of our Country,” the president tweeted on Saturday, in his signature hyperbolic style. “In fact, there is a question as to whether or not this much product can be produced? Our farmers will figure it out. Thank you China!”
Trade delegations from the US and China reached a “very substantial phase one” deal on Friday, covering intellectual property, financial services, and agricultural products. While the actual agreement may take several weeks to finalize, planned tariff increases on Chinese goods have been shelved, and Beijing has agreed to buy between $40 billion and $50 billion worth of American agricultural goods.
American farmers had seen Chinese demand for their pork, soybeans, and cotton plummet during the Trump administration’s tit-for-tat trade war with Beijing. If China sticks to the new deal, its spending on American agricultural produce will increase twofold, from the $19.5 billion it spent in 2017. That Trump would take a victory lap is no surprise, given rural Americans make up much of his support base.
Much remains to be discussed as the two countries enter the second phase of negotiations. Washington and Beijing have yet to come to an agreement on transfer of technology, and on the Trump administration’s blacklisting of several Chinese companies, among them smartphone and 5G giant Huawei.