Moving to the next phase

It has been a long time coming, but finally there seems to have been a breakthrough in the trade dispute between China and the United States. Although a comprehensive deal is said to be still in the works, the positive developments from the latest round of trade negotiations between the two sides – if delivered – are extremely welcome news.
Heralded as a very substantial phase one deal by the US president, and a lot of progress in a very positive direction by China’s chief negotiator Vice-Premier Liu He, the two sides have apparently reached agreements in a wide range of areas including agriculture, intellectual property protection and technology transfers, exchange rates, financial services, expanding trade cooperation and dispute settlement.
Although there is no indication that the two countries are ready to roll back the tariffs on each other’s goods that are in place just yet, cementing the evident feel-good atmosphere that prevailed after the negotiations, the US announced that it will not be implementing the tariff hike from 25 to 30 percent that was due to kick in next week and offered the prospect that the deal the two sides are hoping to get over the line is “beyond tariffs”. Just as important as the particulars – perhaps more so in the long run, should it prove to be the case – is the US administration’s apparent change of attitude toward relations with China. Remarks indicating that the blacklist of Chinese companies is to be reviewed and that both Chinese investment and Chinese students are welcome in the US, suggest that it is now willing to adopt a healthier and more objective view of bilateral relations.
All in all, it seems that the complex and tortuous negotiations have at last produced something that both sides can live with, and that with agreements having been reached in principle they just need “to be papered” so that it can be signed into effect by President Xi Jinping and his US counterpart Donald Trump.