AP FACT CHECK: US-China trade package mostly about symbolism

BEIJING — A trade and investment package announced during President Donald Trump’s visit to China is more about the art of diplomacy than the art of the deal.

The package, said to be worth more than $250 billion, puts a symbolic gloss on fundamentally strained economic relations between the U.S. and China. It draws together some new orders and extensions of business from existing Chinese customers, previously worked-out deals, tentative investments and statements of intent that may or may not turn into new dollars and jobs for the U.S.

Officials from both countries made something of the developments, nonetheless.

“Just now, the president and I witnessed the signing of some major cooperation agreements by our businesses,” Chinese President Xi Jinping said in appearance with Trump on Thursday at which neither man took questions. “During this visit, the two sides signed over $250 billion U.S. dollars of commercial deals and two-way investment agreements.”

U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said: “Today’s signings are a good example of how we can productively build up our bilateral trade.”

Such signing ceremonies in China are often just that, ceremonial. They typically represent purchases that Chinese customers already planned to make and held off on announcing.

General Motors’ $2.2 billion piece of the package, for example, consists mostly of selling parts to its existing joint venture with the Chinese government.


Article source: https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/ap-fact-check-us-china-trade-package-mostly-about-symbolism/2017/11/10/34dbc6a8-c5f9-11e7-9922-4151f5ca6168_story.html

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