A few hours later, though, everyone figured out that this "phase-one deal" sounded a lot like the trade-war détente the US and China came to last December. In this latest "mini-deal," just like the agreement from nine months ago, both parties agreed that China would buy some agricultural goods here and there, and in exchange the US tariffs would not increase for the time being.
(There are more details, we have to assume, but they are difficult to grasp since the agreement wasn't written down or anything this time.)
Of course, this deal leaves untouched the deep structural disagreements between the US and China — issues that include major changes to China's business practices and law enforcement — unresolved. These are the issues at the core of the Trump administration's justification to launch the trade war.
China began backing away from the idea that it would buy $50 billion of agricultural products as Trump said it would.
China also said that it would like to go through another round of talks before officially agreeing to anything.
And then China said Trump would have to remove all tariffs before the trade deal, making "phase two" that much harder to reach.