US and China reach a compromise — but the trade standoff is far from over

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from VOX,

Trump agreed to hold off increasing tariffs on $200 billion Chinese goods, for now.

The United States and China reached a modest compromise on trade on the sidelines of the G20 on Saturday. But the trade spat between the two countries is far from resolved.

President Donald Trump has agreed to temporarily hold off increasing tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese-made goods in exchange for China purchasing “a not yet agreed upon, but very substantial” amount of American-made products.

The two sides will intensify negotiations to resolve the key issues, including non-tariff barriers, intellectual property protection, cyber theft, and more, according to a statement from the White House.

On those more major issues, the gaps between the United States and China remain wide, despite the consensus Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping reached over what they both called a “highly successful” working dinner in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

The meeting was indeed successful in that the two may have averted — at least for now — a deepening economic conflict between two of the world’s biggest economies. The tensions have hurt the global economy and worsened ties between the major powers.

Now comes the hard part of reaching a more comprehensive deal on trade.

There were some slight discrepancies in how Chinese officials sold the deal, as Bloomberg pointed out in a comparison of the statements issued by the White House and the Chinese Foreign Ministry. Most critically, the Chinese government statement did not explicitly mention the 90-day time window, though it says the two sides will “speed up” talks.

Both sides are selling this agreement as a sign of progress, but the big issues remain unresolved. What’s more, Beijing and Washington might not even agree on what a final deal on trade would look like.

The Chinese government said in a statement that both sides seek to reach a “mutually beneficial, win-win agreement.” But Trump’s previous demands of China sound less like a man in search of a compromise, and than one seeking total domination — basically, the opposite of “win-win.”

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