Did Xi Jinping “surrender” in trade war?

Via Sinocism today:

Treasury Secretary Mnuchin is ‘confident’ trade deal will be signed – CNBC

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Thursday he has no doubt that U.S. and Chinese trade negotiators will sign their “phase one” trade deal in early January.

Asked by CNBC’s David Faber how certain he is the trade deal will be signed on schedule, the secretary said he was “very confident.”

“It’s just going through what I would consider to be a technical, legal scrub, and we’ll be releasing the document and signing it in the beginning of January,” he said.

Grassley still waiting for China specifics – POLITICO

— Senate Finance Chairman Chuck Grassley says he has not seen any details of the preliminary trade deal with China even after talking with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, as the text is still being translated.

So it is not just we who are in the dark about the details…

China says in touch with U.S. on signing of Phase 1 trade deal – Reuters

Both the Chinese and U.S. trade teams are in close communication, Gao Feng, a spokesman at the Chinese commerce ministry, told reporters at a regular briefing on Thursday, adding there is no specific information on the deal to disclose currently.

“After the official signing of the deal, the content of the agreement will be made public,” Gao said.

Comment: Perhaps the content is not being made public until after the signing because some people in China will not like the concessions?

I have heard it described as a “卖国条约 treasonous pact”. It is very interesting that Taoran Notes, a reliable reporter of the deal negotiations, has been silent since November 5. It is possible that Xi decided a deal was to be done and this time he made sure to shut down any negative voices.

As I wrote in Monday’s newsletter:

It is hard to tell from the limited public details, but my sense is that the Chinese did concede more than the US because Xi wants to try to put a floor, however temporary and narrow it may be, under the rapidly descending trajectory of US-China relations.

This reporter is hearing similar things – Did Xi surrender to Trump? China struggles to silence chatter – Nikkei Asian Review

When the U.S. and China reached a “phase one” trade deal late last week, neither Saturday’s prime time news program on state-run China Central Television nor the Sunday edition of the People’s Daily spoke a word of it, despite the media fanfare that hit much of the rest of the globe.

Almost no official commentaries about the trade deal have been made since then.

Nevertheless, a quiet debate is taking place among Chinese political junkies, be they intellectuals or ordinary citizens. Most of these whispered conversations happen face-to-face, since online posts are under strict surveillance, now with the help of artificial intelligence.

“Did Chinese President Xi Jinping just surrender to U.S. President Donald Trump?”…

The buzzword being used for “surrender” is cheng xia zhi meng [城下之盟], literally “an oath taken at the bottom of the castle.” It refers to a peace treaty a city is forced to conclude after seeing enemy forces breaching its last castle wall.

China announces new tariff exemptions for U.S. chemical, oil products – Reuters

The tariff waivers will apply to four chemical products, such as metallocene high-density polyethylene (HDPE) and a special grade of linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE), and refined oil products that include white oil and food-grade petroleum wax.

Henry Kissinger told White House he talked to Xi about Trump: Kudlow – CNBC

Kudlow told CNBC that Kissinger, who served in senior roles under Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford, met with Xi “twice” during a weeklong trip to China, along with “other big shots.”

During their talks, Xi said he would rather deal with Trump than Democrats “who won’t talk about key trade issues, but instead will go on about human rights and other things,” Kudlow said Kissinger told him.

We shall see with the detailed release.

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