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China's top trade negotiator headed to US next week for 'phase one' deal signing

China's vice premier and chief trade negotiator Liu He will visit Washington, D.C. on Jan. 13-15 to sign a "phase one" trade agreement with the U.S., the Ministry of Commerce said in a statement.

The visit was made at Washington's request, according to Gao Feng, the ministry's spokesman. He added that trade negotiators from both countries remain in close communication, without providing further details.

The statement marks the first official confirmation of the signing from the Chinese side. U.S. President Donald Trump previously said the two countries were set to sign the partial deal Jan. 15 and that he would later travel to Beijing to begin the second round of talks.

China and the U.S. agreed to the text of the partial deal in December 2019, leading to the cancellation of additional tariffs on Chinese goods. China also exempted a list of U.S. goods from countervailing tariffs.