WASHINGTON—The U.S.-China trade pact signed a year ago is being credited for improving business conditions for some American companies, even if a cornerstone of the deal—China’s commitment to greatly increase purchases of U.S. goods—has fallen short.
Under the deal brokered by the Trump administration, China agreed to purchase about $159 billion in U.S. goods by the end of 2020. Through November, China’s actual purchases were about $82 billion, or about 52% of the target goal, according to an analysis by Chad Bown, a senior fellow at Peterson Institute for International Economics.
Economists have attributed the shortfall in part to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, which dented Chinese domestic demand for foreign goods and lowered the prices of imported energy.
The trade pact signed Jan. 15, 2020, also called on China to improve access to its markets to U.S. companies—and on that front, Beijing has made strides, especially with respect to American financial companies.
In exchange, the Trump administration agreed to cut tariffs on some imported Chinese products. Still, import duties remain on about $370 billion in Chinese goods annually, affecting most imports.