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China confirms Vice Premier Liu will visit the US from Jan 30

Vice Premier Liu He will visit the US on Jan 30 to Jan 31 for trade negotiations.

[BEIJING] China's chief trade negotiator is headed back to the US at the end of the month for the next round of talks, the Chinese government confirmed.

"At the invitation from US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, Vice Premier Liu He will visit the US on Jan 30 to Jan 31 for trade negotiations," Ministry of Commerce Spokesman Gao Feng told reporters in Beijing on Thursday. " They will work together to further implement the important consensus reached by the two state leaders. "

Mr Liu is a top economic aide to President Xi Jinping and is in charge of the talks with the US. This would be his second trip to Washington to talk trade, after he appeared to reach an agreement in May, only for Mr Trump to back away from it. This time, Mr Liu travels to Washington with a more challenging domestic economic backdrop which makes it even more pressing to strike a deal.

On top of the uncertainty generated by the trade war, recent economic data has been poor, with worsening factory sentiment, deflation risks and falling exports. Authorities have responded with various stimulus measures, but those may prove insufficient to brake the slowdown at a time when international conditions are also deteriorating.

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The decline in December's exports was due to slowing global demand, the comparison with strong results a year ago and fading front-loading effects, Mr Gao said, talking about exporters shipping products early to avoid being hit with higher US tariffs.

A day after it was reported that the US is investigating China's Huawei Technologies Co, Mr Gao reiterated that the world's two largest economies are deeply intertwined.

"China's technological advancement is not a threat to the world," he said in response to a question about Western nations limiting purchases of Chinese-made tech equipment. Developed nations should be more open to the China's equipment, instead of making accusations based on hearsay that they are unsafe, Mr Gao said.

"Recently some nations said that Chinese technology products are threats and contain security risks. Those are circumstantial, groundless accusations against Chinese companies and products," Mr Gao said.