Donald Trump famously declared that trade wars are easy to win.

With the phase one trade agreement between the U.S. and China now inked, observers are hesitant to declare a winner. While most welcomed the truce they also cautioned that the toughest negotiations are yet to come.

For now, obvious beneficiaries include America’s farmers, refiners, crude and gas exporters who could see Chinese demand soar. U.S. finance firms including investment banks, credit card companies and ratings firms won allowances that will hasten their ambitions to grab a bigger slice of China’s $45 trillion financial industry.

On the Chinese side, the truce offers relief for a slowing economy and gives breathing space for the government to meet its growth targets.

Potential losers include Brazilian soy bean farmers and Australian suppliers of liquefied natural gas amid stiffer competition for their Chinese order book. The World Trade Organization has been left on the sidelines as globalization gives way to managed trade.

Even with the deal, Chinese goods remain levied with stinging U.S tariffs while American firms still face heavily subsidized Chinese competitors.

Trump hailed the agreement as “remarkable” and Xi Jinping described it as “good for China, the U.S. and the whole world.”

Here’s a sample of some other reaction:

Steve Schwarzman, chief executive officer of Blackstone Group Inc:
“You have to remember that the U.S. and China, other than the WTO deal in 2001, fundamentally haven’t had a trade agreement since the 1940s so what has been achieved is very, very significant. It provides a base line for a better world economy.”

Charles Freeman, Senior Vice President for Asia, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
“Let’s celebrate while we can and then we will regroup and move on. The enforcement tools are there and I believe both sides are sincere. This is one of those agreements where both sides could agree to do these things and get them done. With the best of intentions we can bank this and hope it goes forward and we can begin the hard work of negotiating on subsidies.”

Chinese state media
The deal’s signing received almost 20 minutes of live airtime on Chinese state television in the middle of the night. CCTV published a commentary on its app arguing the deal has two salient features: balance and equality and is a “win-win.”

The People’s Daily made a similar argument in an article published via WeChat, a social-media platform.

Hu Xijin, editor-in-chief of the Communist Party-backed Global Times, welcomed the deal in a tweet.
I am watching live streaming. I am happy for phase one trade deal. There will be people in both China and the US criticizing this deal. They are either shallow or criticize it out of political reasons. But people of the two countries, as well as global markets, will support it
— Hu Xijin 胡锡进 (@HuXijin_GT) January 15, 2020

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