South China Morning Post

Tim Stratford, chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce in China, said that despite a growing belief that an end to the trade war might be near, solutions to deeper issues still needed to be worked out.

“I don’t think it would be easy for China to agree to a one-way enforcement mechanism where the US can enforce but China cannot,” he said. “I think that’s very hard for China to agree to.

“But it’s also true that if it’s two-way, then if it’s abused one way or another, the agreement will fall apart. So this is a very delicate situation.”

US companies could feel “pleased and hopeful” about China’s recent promise to buy more American goods to close the US-China trade deficit, Stratford said.

“But I think more broadly, buying commitments are not really a traditional part of trade policy negotiations.”

On Wednesday, a chamber white paper said trust between China and the US had plummeted to the extent that US businesses in China could no longer be regarded as a “positive anchor” in the countries’ trade relations.

That change in sentiment came from years of broken Chinese promises to open up the Chinese market to foreign companies, according to the document.