(Jan 10): There seems little doubt that the "phase one" of the US-China deal will be signed, signed. China has announced Vice Premier Liu He will sign the first phase of the trade deal with the US in the week starting Jan 13. This is reflected in the 5% rise in the Shanghai Index. US trade advisors trumpet this as an American victory but there are sizeable advantages for China. The timing will be disrupted by the events in the Middle East. The key indicator of victory will be the relative status of those signing the phase one document. Liu He is ranked number four of the four Vice-Premiers.

American pressure has enabled the Chinese leadership to overcome resistance from economically conservative elements and speed up the implementation of systemic reforms. Other apparent Chinese concessions, such as buying more agriculture produce from the US, satisfy projected growing demand and these may have occurred in the natural course of events.

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