When it comes to trade deals, the devil is in the details. Coincidentally, the devil is also in Donald Trump, so when he tweeted on Saturday that he'd just reached "by far, the greatest and biggest deal ever made for our Great Patriot Farmers in the history of our Country," the media was skeptical. After all, he promised that a deal with China was on the horizon back in May. In August, he lied about a call from Chinese trade officials who he claimed were desperate to get back to the negotiating table. And then again in December he claimed to have a deal in pocket only to see it vanish into thin air.

So naturally news outlets wised up this time and insisted on seeing the plan before they ran with a story congratulating President Arty McDeals on another flawless victory.


Screenshot: New York Times

All the money geniuses treated the China trade deal like a sure thing, the Dow Jones closed up 300 points, and Donald Trump fired off a bunch of insane tweets about farmers needing to buy new tractors to produce eleventy billion tons of corn.

EXCEPT ... you'll never guess what actually happened!

Turns out, there is no trade deal after all! Fam, we are shook. As Bloomberg was first to report this morning, there will have to be another round of talks to nail down the details before Chinese President Xi Jinping agrees to sign anything. And he wants Trump to cancel the tariff hikes planned to go into effect on December 15 before the agreement is inked, not after.

So, this might have been a slight overreaction.

The Washington Post translates a commentary in the official Xinhua news agency somewhat differently: "It took a step in the direction of resolving China-U.S. economic and trade issues, serves the interests of the Chinese and American people and is generally welcomed by the international community." Oooh, so close!

Bloomberg notes that China's economy is taking a beating, so the country's negotiators are eager to conclude a deal. But they don't trust Trump and are wary of being seen to give in to Western bullying.

For Xi, it's seen as politically unfeasible to accept a final deal that doesn't remove the punitive tariffs altogether. Nationalists in the Communist Party have pressured him to avoid signing an "unequal treaty" reminiscent of those China signed with colonial powers.

So, Donald Trump lied his orange ass off about having a trade deal in the bag. AGAIN. So weird how no one trusts us anymore now that we're great again, huh?

[Bloomberg / WaPo]

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Liz Dye

Liz Dye lives in Baltimore with her wonderful husband and a houseful of teenagers. When she isn't being mad about a thing on the internet, she's hiding in plain sight in the carpool line. She's the one wearing yoga pants glaring at her phone.


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