Our specific concern with the Phase One deal is China’s commitment to purchase $200 billion of U.S. products. This aspect of the deal is a complete break from past U.S. trade deals, contrary to free market values, gives China leverage over the U.S., and creates strategic costs for the U.S. by undermining U.S. global economic leadership.
Viewed as a simple purchase contract between two private entities, the deal may make some sense. However, understood correctly as a trade deal between two sovereign nations, the purchase commitments are not merely out of place—they create two specific and related problems.
One, this deal gives China leverage over the United States that it did not previously possess. Two, these commitments undermine market forces and the rules-based trading system, with both direct and strategic costs for the U.S.
Source: Why the purchase commitments in the US-China trade deal should not be replicated, ever