A phase one trade deal between China and the United States has been signed, but not all the details of the agreement were available inside China.
According to a report by South China Morning Post, the Chinese State media outlet CCTV provided live coverage of the signing ceremony between Liu and US President Donald Trump after midnight local time. However, the simultaneous translation cut out when Vice-President Mike Pence, a known China hawk, started speaking.

The Office of the US Trade Representative posted an English-language version of the deal, outlining the commitments China made in areas such as intellectual property, market access, currency and imports – however as expected, granular detail on individual commodity purchases were absent.

Chinese state media say that after 18 months of hard slog, the world’s two largest economies had finally found enough common ground to sign what is seen internationally as a relatively low-end agreement.

The White House published a full transcription of the lengthy signing ceremony, including a full translation of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s letter to Trump.

The official Xinhua News Agency published an editorial on Thursday morning saying that phase one deal shows China and the US are looking for “a more reasonable approach” to managing their differences. But it warned that the deal should only be considered “a good start” to address a dispute that is “long-term, complicated and arduous”.

According to Chinese business magazine Caixin, Liu said that China’s commitments on intellectual property rights protection, technology transfer, and financial market opening would also be applied to China’s other trading partners.

Trump said: “Negotiating with Liu is very tough. But [tariffs] will all come off as soon as we finish phase two.”

But there was no mention of phase two in any Chinese state media. Some Chinese analysts, however, believe that this is where the real hard work will begin.