Share this on Twitter Share this on Facebook Share this on LinkedIn Share this on Sina Weibo Share this on Wechat Share this on LinkedIn President Donald J. Trump and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He on their way to the signing of the U.S.-China Phase One Trade Agreement at the White House in January. Credit: Shealah Craighead, Official White House Photo After a year of pressure on Beijing, including levying tariffs on half of everything China sold to the United States, the American trade team thought it was closing in on a deal in late April 2019 to remake relations between the world’s two economic superpowers. The two sides were working on a 150-page agreement covering many American complaints against China: pressure on U.S. companies to transfer technology, weak intellectual property protection, closed financial services markets, and currency devaluation. By some counts, the text required China to make at least sixty specific changes in its legal system. Although China still hadn’t agreed to many U.S. demands, the two sides had already started discussions about where to hold a signing ceremony. Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida? Washington, D.C.? But the U.S. side was naively optimistic and made several miscalculations about the power of the United States to force China to change — the first of Subscribe or login to read the rest. Subscribers get full access to: Exclusive longform investigative journalism, Q&As, news and analysis, and data on Chinese business elites and corporations. We publish China scoops you won't find anywhere else. A weekly curated reading list on China from David Barboza, Pulitzer Prize-winning former Shanghai correspondent for The New York Times. A daily roundup of China finance, business and economics headlines. We offer discounts for groups, institutions and students. Go to our Subscriptions page for details.