Chinese purchases in Trump trade deal fail to meet Beijing's promises

China's purchases are less than half their year-to-date targets

China is lagging significantly behind goals for purchasing American products that were set in a historic trade agreement this year.

Beijing has bought $39.3 billion through June, according to U.S. export data. Meanwhile, Chinese import figures -- garnered from the country's customs offices -- show $48.5 billion of purchases.

To meet the skinny trade deal’s requirements, China’s imports must reach at least $172.7 billion or U.S. exports must top $142.7 billion. The pact signed in January allowed either figure to be used in determining compliance.

“Through the first seven months of 2020, China’s purchases of all covered products were thus only at 47 percent (U.S. exports) or 48 percent (Chinese imports) of their year-to-date targets,” wrote Chad Brown, Reginald Jones Senior Fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics.


Purchases of covered agriculture, manufacturing and energy products were all trending well below target, with fossil fuel purchases less than a quarter of the promised amount.

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative didn't immediately respond to FOX Business’ request for comment.

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin conducted a six-month review of the trade deal in a teleconference with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He on Monday evening, covering topics including “significant increases in purchases of U.S. products by China,” according to a statement from Lighthizer’s office.

The call, which was originally scheduled for Aug. 15, but delayed by President Trump because of his dissatisfaction with Beijing’s handling of the COVID-19 outbreak, helped at least temporarily ease simmering tensions between the world’s two biggest economic powers.

"When the Chinese came to town to sign that Phase One deal, they knew there was a deadly virus afoot," Peter Navarro, director of the office of trade and manufacturing policy and assistant to the president, told FOX Business on Monday.


The virus, which originated in Wuhan, China, has infected 5.8 million Americans and killed 179,000, higher tolls than anywhere else in the world. Stay-at-home orders aimed at slowing the spread of the disease resulted in more than 57 million Americans filing for unemployment and an annualized 32.9% contraction of the U.S. economy, the sharpest slowdown of the post-World War II era.

"We were doing better than we've ever done with China and I was all set to rock 'n' roll," Trump told Fox News on Sunday. "Then we got hit with this damn situation."