On Wednesday, U.S. President Donald Trump signed a trade deal with China at a White House event.
The U.S.-China trade has been a centerpiece of Trump’s presidency, and the Phase 1 deal ceremony being held at the White House rather than a neutral location only goes to underscore Trump’s victory lap of sorts.
Trump chose to sign the Phase 1 deal himself despite the fact that Chinese President Xi Jinping sent a lower level official to represent China.
“Since China joined the World Trade Organization two decades ago, we have racked up nearly $5 trillion – the Vice Premier, I hope he’s not listening to this – in trade deficits, lost millions and millions of manufacturing jobs, and saw tens of thousands of factories close,” said Trump while adding, “They were not doing things that they were supposed to be. And that’s okay. Because now they will.”
At the time of signing, Trump spontaneously motioned for U.S. lawmakers in the room to come and stand behind him which in turn prompted guests on the Chinese side, which cares deeply about protocol, to come up as well. Both sides crowded the stage blocking the view.