trade deals in mirror may not be as close as they appear
December 12, 2019

We've heard this one before.

On Thursday, in one of his 80-plus tweets before 10 a.m., President Trump shared an all-too-familiar refrain: "Getting VERY close to a BIG DEAL with China." It's a deal Trump has been talking about for more than a year, and has been promising is just around the corner for just as long.

A dive back into Trump's tweets since the summer of 2018 and even before show dozens of mentions of a trade deal with China. By his account, in September 2018, China was "under pressure to make a deal with us." As of December 14, 2018, tariffs against China were working so well that a deal "could happen, and rather soon," Trump tweeted. And on February 26 of this year, Trump said the two countries were "getting very, very close" to signing a deal — yes, that's an extra "very" from Trump's more recent announcement.

Trump's "very close" mantra came up again in April, with Trump suggesting there could be an agreement made in the following four weeks. Then came some apparent fallout, where China "attempted renegotiation of the trade deal," Trump tweeted in May. It took until Nov. 20 for Trump to say the U.S. and China were back at their "very close" stage, which, considering the first times those words came up, could mean everything or nothing at all. Kathryn Krawczyk

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