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China's top negotiator to visit US to sign phase one deal to ease trade war: Report


Press Trust of India Beijing
China's Vice-Premier Liu He, who is also the chief negotiator for trade talks with the US, will lead a delegation to Washington this weekend, during which he is expected to sign a phase one deal to significantly de-escalate the trade war between the two biggest global economies, a media report said on Monday.
"Washington has sent an invitation and Beijing has accepted it," Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post quoted a Chinese official as saying.
The Chinese delegation, headed by Liu, which would leave on Saturday is expected to stay "a few days" in the US, the report said.
However, neither side has officially confirmed the trip.
China's Ministry of Commerce was not immediately available for comment.
The signing of a phase one deal during Liu's trip would mark a point of truce in the ongoing bitter trade war between the world's two biggest economies.
On December 13, China and the US have agreed on the text of a phase one economic and trade agreement to end the 18-month-long bruising trade war.
According to an official statement, both the sides have agreed to complete their necessary procedures, including legal review, translation and proofreading, as soon as possible and discuss the detailed arrangements for officially signing the agreement.
Chinese Vice Commerce Minister Wang Shouwen had announced that a breakthrough in the trade negotiations has been reached for a phase-one deal.
Wang said the agreement covered a wide range of issues, including intellectual property protection, technology transfer, purchase of agricultural products and expanding trade.
The US has also agreed to reduce its tariffs on Chinese imports in stages.
Both the countries will proceed to legal review of the text and discuss arrangements for signing the deal.
Under the agreement both the countries have agreed not to impose fresh tariffs on each other's exports.
The statement issued by the Chinese government said that the agreed text includes nine chapters: the preface, intellectual property rights, technology transfer, food and agricultural products, financial services, exchange rate and transparency, trade expansion, bilateral assessment and dispute settlement, and the final terms.
The agreement is generally in line with the main direction of China's deepening reform and opening up as well as the internal needs for advancing the high-quality economic development, the statement said.
Implementation of the agreement will help enhance intellectual property rights protection, improve the business environment, expand market access, better safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of all companies, including foreign firms in China. It will also protect the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese firms in their economic and trade activities with the US, it said.
After the signing, it is hoped that both sides will comply with and earnestly implement the provisions of the phase one deal, do more to promote the development of bilateral economic and trade relations as well as global economic and financial stability, and safeguard the peace and prosperity of the world, the report said.
US President Donald Trump launched the trade war with China last year, demanding Beijing to reduce the massive USD 375 billion trade deficit.
Trump is also demanding an intrusive verification mechanism to supervise Beijing's promise to protect intellectual property rights (IPR) technology transfer and more access to American goods to Chinese markets.

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First Published: Dec 30 2019 | 7:40 PM IST

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