November 1, 2019 / 6:32 PM / 16 days ago

Phase one trade deal with China is in good shape - U.S. Commerce Secretary

FILE PHOTO: U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross meets with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis (not pictured) at the Maximos Mansion in Athens, Greece September 5, 2019. REUTERS/Costas Baltas/File Photo

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The initial “phase one” trade pact with China appears to be in good shape and is likely to be signed around mid-November, although a finite date is still in question, U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said on Friday.

“We’re pretty comfortable that the phase one is in good shape,” he told Fox Business Network in an interview.

U.S. President Donald Trump and other administration officials had looked toward the Nov. 11-17 Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit as a possible venue to sign the deal with Chinese President Xi Jinping before Chile this week cancelled its plan to host the international summit.

“Hopefully we can resurrect a date right in that range,” Ross told the television network, adding that the question of a new location remained.

Lead trade negotiators from both the United States and Chine are expected to speak by telephone on Friday as Ross prepared separately to travel to Asia for a three-day summit of Southeast Asian nations in Thailand.

“There will some transactions announced — some very good-sized transactions — announced while I’m on this trip,” he said, but gave no other details.

Reporting by Susan Heavey; Editing by Catherine Evans and Louise Heavens

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