In return for a series of modest concessions, most of which had been offered by President Xi Jinping’s administration in previous negotiating rounds, Donald Trump agreed to suspend another set of tariff increases originally scheduled to take effect on October 15…

Chinese negotiators, however, believe that time is on their side and they can continue to stonewall Mr Trump and his lead negotiator, US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, on any “systemic” reforms that they fear would weaken the Chinese Communist party’s grip over the world’s second-largest economy.

In private, Chinese officials say they are lucky Mr Trump waited a year before launching his trade assault in the spring of 2018, giving his negotiators only about 18 months to confront China before domestic political pressures would begin to hem them in…

“The US economy is under pressure and Mr Trump is facing an election,” says one Chinese official. “Previously Trump wanted to ratchet up tensions but now he needs to lower them.”