But the so-called Phase 1 pact does little to force China to make the major economic reforms — such as reducing unfair subsidies for its own companies —that the Trump administration sought when it started the trade war by imposing tariffs on Chinese imports in July 2018. The U.S. has yet to reveal details of the agreement, though U.S. trade representative Robert Lighthizer has said they would be made public Wednesday.
Most analysts say any meaningful resolution of the key U.S. allegation — that Beijing uses predatory tactics in its drive to supplant America’s technological supremacy — could require years of contentious talks. And skeptics say a satisfactory resolution may be next to impossible given China’s ambitions to become the global leader in such advanced technologies as driverless cars and artificial intelligence.
“The signing of the Phase 1 deal would represent a welcome, even if modest, de-escalation of trade hostilities between China and the U.S.,” said Eswar Prasad, a Cornell University economist and former head of the International Monetary Fund’s China division. “But it hardly addresses in any substantive way the fundamental sources of trade and economic tensions between the two sides, which will continue to fester.’’