China’s vice premier to sign trade deal in Washington

Vice Premier Liu He will travel to the US next week to sign the first phase of the trade deal between the two countries

China said Vice Premier Liu He will travel to Washington next week to sign the first phase of the trade deal with the US, confirming an earlier announcement by President Donald Trump.

Liu, who was Beijing’s chief envoy in the talks with Washington over the two-year tariff war between the two countries, will lead a delegation to the US from January 13 until January 15, a Chinese Commerce Ministry spokesman said.

The negotiating teams from both sides remain in close communication on the particular arrangements of the signing, the spokesman said during a briefing with reporters.

The latest development is likely to calm fears of an escalating trade war between the world’s two largest economies, amid tensions in the Middle East and soaring oil prices.

Trump announced last month he would sign the phase-one agreement on January 15 and travel to Beijing after that to start the second stage of talks.

However, Beijing hasn’t confirmed such a plan. Instead, Chinese officials have said that any future talks would depend on how the phase-one deal is implemented.

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As part of the deal announced on December 13, Trump agreed to suspend plans for new tariffs on Chinese imports and cut some existing levies, while Beijing agreed to increase agricultural purchases such as soybeans and pork from the US.

Details of the agreement haven’t been announced yet.

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