Later this week, on or around 15 August, as directed by the terms of the US-China Phase One trade deal, the two countries are due to meet to review its progress, six months after the trade deal came into effect on 14 February.
For all the rhetoric and the escalation in tensions between the US and China, driven in part by the proximity of the coming US Presidential Elections in November, both sides have avoided any measures which would directly impact the terms of the phase one trade deal. A tit-for-tat closure of each other’s foreign consulates and the targeting of sanctions on individual people and companies is one thing.
A blanket unwinding of the tariff-war ceasefire for US-China trade is quite another. Indeed, while more hostile language has been noted from both US President Donald Trump and Presumptive Democrat Presidential Candidate Joe Biden, it is interesting that this appears at odds with the mood-music from the US Trade Representative (USTR) body.
Back in June, USTR Ambassador Robert Lighthizer said he felt “very good” about the progress of the Phase One trade agreement made with China which he said is honouring the pact despite the coronavirus pandemic. Adding to this, tellingly, after recent mid-judged comments from a White House adviser to the contrary, Trump went out of his way to reassure that the trade deal with China was “fully intact”.