China Plans to Send Team to U.S. for Jan. 15 Deal Signing

(Bloomberg) -- The Chinese trade delegation plans to sign the first phase of its trade deal with the U.S. in Washington on Jan. 15, according to people familiar with the matter.

The plan is still to send its top negotiator, Vice Premier Liu He, to ink the deal, said the people, who asked not to be identified discussing the private plans. The team will be in Washington from Jan. 13 to Jan. 15, one of the people said.

The South China Morning Post earlier reported the dates. The group had originally aimed to travel earlier in the month, but had to alter its plans after U.S. President Donald Trump sent a tweet saying the deal would be signed Jan. 15 at the White House, according to the SCMP.

While both parties had been expected to complete their phase one discussions by January, China didn’t expect Trump to make a unilateral announcement about the date or to say that he’d be willing to sign the deal even if China’s President Xi Jinping wasn’t available, the newspaper reported.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang repeated that the two sides remain in contact and referred specific questions on the trade deal to the commerce ministry at a regular briefing in Beijing on Monday. The Ministry of Commerce did not immediately respond to an earlier fax seeking comment.

(Updates with Chinese foreign ministry comment in final paragraph.)

To contact Bloomberg News staff for this story: Colin Keatinge in London at [email protected];Steven Yang in Beijing at [email protected]

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Sunil Kesur at [email protected], Jeffrey Black, Sharon Chen

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