China did not purchase any of the extra $200 billion in U.S. exports pledged under a bilateral trade deal signed in 2020, an analysis by a U.S. research institute showed Tuesday, highlighting the failure of the agreement that was touted as "historic" by then U.S. President Donald Trump.
Under the so-called phase one trade deal, China agreed to increase purchases of certain U.S. goods and services by at least $200 billion in 2020 and 2021 compared with 2017 levels, meaning the world's second-largest economy would buy a total of $502.4 billion over the two years.
But actual U.S. exports of the goods and services in the two-year period stood at $288.8 billion, more than $213 billion short of the target, according to the Peterson Institute for International Economics.
"In the end, China bought only 57 percent of the U.S. exports it had committed to purchase under the agreement," Chad Bown, senior fellow of the Washington-based institute, said in his report. "Today the only undisputed 'historical' aspect of that agreement is its failure."
The analysis supports the assertion of the administration of President Joe Biden that China had not met its purchase commitments under the trade deal.
"It is on China to show up and follow through on its commitment," White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told a press conference Tuesday when asked how the U.S. government is planning to respond. She also said trade officials would work to "determine the next steps."
The Peterson Institute said in its report that the phase one deal was not a "total washout," given that it led to the halt of a tit-for-tat tariff war, which the Trump administration started to reduce the U.S. trade deficit with China and rectify its concerns over intellectual property theft and other issues.
But it indicated that achieving the $200 billion purchase commitment seems to have been difficult in the first place, given the emergence of the coronavirus pandemic and the uncertainty over U.S.-China trade relations that remained even after the deal was reached.
The phase one deal also led to an immediate rollback of some of the U.S. tariffs imposed on China amid the trade war, but remaining duties have continued to affect many Chinese products.