The only actual achievement so far, apart from a commitment to talk, was China's winning of an extension of the window before the proposed increase in the tariffs cuts in, which also pushes back the point at which Trump's threat to impose tariffs on China's remaining $US267 billion of exports to the USA might be imposed.
The appointment of Lighthizer, the hardline U.S. trade representative, to lead the talks instead of Treasury Secretary Mnuchin puts one of the administration's toughest China critics in charge.
The White House's official statement says nothing of the sort; it only says the USA will hold negotiations with China on the latter's "forced technology transfer, intellectual property protection, non-tariff barriers, cyber intrusions and cyber theft, services and agriculture".
Trump has said China is supposed to start buying agricultural products immediately and cut its 40 percent tariffs on USA vehicle imports.
The Republican president indicated he would not be opposed to extending the 90-day truce he and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed to over the weekend.
Both sides will immediately hold talks on structural changes concerning forced technology transfers made by Chinese firms on USA companies, intellectual property rights protection, non-tariff trade barriers, cyber intrusion concerns, cyber theft and agricultural, the White House added.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin also issued a carefully worded statement, noting that there is an "immediate focus" on reducing auto tariffs but "there's a lot of work to be done over the next 90 days". The White House and Beijing have essentially reached an agreement to pause the trade war for 90 days while the two sides try to reach a formal trade deal.
Trump, who described the deal as "incredible, " claimed China would completely remove a 40 per cent import duty on American cars and had agreed to negotiate on contentious issues like intellectual property and forced technology transfers. As part of that the US said it had agreed to hold off on raising tariffs January 1 while negotiations took place. President Trump even reminded his Twitter followers Tuesday morning: "I am a Tariff Man". This fundamental misunderstanding of economics, combined with his reckless announcement of the detente that wasn't, scared investors and continues to undermine his administration's efforts at reaching a real trade deal with China.
China has made no direct mention of specific goods they will start to buy nor given any timeframe for when they may start. "It will always be the best way to max out our economic power", he said on Tuesday. "Bob Lighthizer will be working closely with Steve Mnuchin, Larry Kudlow, Wilbur Ross and Peter Navarro. on seeing whether or not a REAL deal with China is actually possible", Trump wrote in part of a four-tweet message. "But as he found out with Mexico, Canada and now China, trade is more than the sum of goods and services exchanged between nations".
Also contributing to the decline are increased fears about future USA economic growth.
The U.S. leader said U.S. farmers "will be a very BIG and FAST beneficiary of our deal with China". Targeting soybeans was widely seen as a direct attack on Trump's supporters, as the US' top soybean farming states voted for Trump in 2016.
The negotiations for a final agreement have already begun, Kudlow said.