Trump says China trade deal may be signed shortly after Jan 15

US President Donald Trump had said on Dec 31 that the Phase One deal with China would be signed on Jan 15 at the White House. PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - United States President Donald Trump, who announced last month that the Phase One trade deal with China would be signed on Jan 15, said on Thursday (Jan 9) the agreement could be signed "shortly thereafter".

In an interview with the ABC affiliate in Toledo, Ohio, Mr Trump said: "We're going to be signing on January 15th - I think it will be January 15th, but shortly thereafter, but I think January 15th - a big deal with China."

Mr Trump announced the Jan 15 signing date in a tweet on Dec 31, saying it would be held at the White House.

He also said he would sign the deal with "high-level representatives of China", and that he would later travel to Beijing to begin talks on the next phase.

The Phase One deal reached last month is expected to cut tariffs and boost Chinese purchases of US farm, energy and manufactured goods while addressing some disputes over intellectual property.

Chinese Vice-Premier Liu He, head of the country's negotiating team in the Sino-US trade talks, will sign the deal in Washington next week, China's commerce ministry said on Thursday.

Mr Liu will visit Washington from Jan 13-15, said Mr Gao Feng, spokesman for the commerce ministry.

Negotiating teams from both sides remain in close communication on the particular arrangements of the signing, Mr Gao told reporters at a regular briefing.

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