As the "trade war" between China and the United States continues, negotiations between the two states have not yet created a compromise with terms both states find agreeable. China's next proposal to end the trade war is a pledge to purchase $1 Trillion worth of goods from the United States over the next few years, a move that would eliminate thier trade surplus with the United States. From a mercantilist perspective, this is an offer the United States should take advantage of, as it not only injects $1 Trillion in spending into their economy, it also balances their trade deficit with China. From a mercantilist "zero-sum" perspective, this bilateral agreement would benefit the United States and (just as important) hurt China.
However, as this article notes, such an agreement is against the laws of the World Trade Organization (WTO). By making this bilateral agreement with the U.S., China would break the "most favored nation" rule of the WTO: a state cannot favor imports from one WTO member state over another; instead, the offer must be extended to all WTO member states. If China were to make this deal, other states would have the right to take legal action against it, which would likely result in China losing more than the deal with the U.S. is worth. Despite the trade deal having value in mercantilist terms, a liberal perspective reminds us of the larger implications: even if a bilateral deal is expedient, the economic institutions set up by the liberal world order are the rules that all states must play by.