- China on Tuesday said it would take steps to ease foreign investment restrictions and technology rules.
- The comments came as the largest economies sought to finalize the first stage of a potential agreement to defuse trade tensions.
- But experts remain skeptical that the two sides will be able to reach an enforceable breakthrough on issues at the center of the conflict.
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China on Tuesday said it would take steps to ease foreign investment restrictions and technology rules as officials continued trade negotiations with the Trump administration.
Speaking at a news conference in Beijing, Chinese Vice Commerce Minister Wang Shouwen said the country would lift restrictions on foreign investments not included in certain prohibited industries. He added that it would not force foreign companies to transfer technologies, a practice that has been at the center of a yearlong tariff dispute with the US.
"We will move faster to open up the financial industry," Wang said.
The comments came as the largest economies sought to finalize the first stage of a potential agreement to defuse trade tensions. Earlier in October, President Donald Trump decided to at least temporarily postpone plans to substantially increase tariffs on Chinese products.
Since early 2018, the Trump administration has attempted to pressure China to change business and currency practices said to put the US at a disadvantage. China has said it would also resume some purchases of American agricultural products, which it halted last year to retaliate against those efforts.
But experts remain skeptical that the two sides will be able to reach an enforceable breakthrough on issues at the center of the conflict. Key concessions sought by the US would require sweeping changes to the way China manages its economy.
"These are sentiments Chinese officials have asserted many times," said Scott Kennedy, a senior adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies who studies China's economy. "I'll believe it not when Chinese officials speak or new regulations are issued but when foreign investors in China report that conditions have markedly improved."
Faced with a newly launched impeachment inquiry, Trump has offered a far rosier outlook on the prospect of an agreement with China in recent weeks.
"We are looking probably to be ahead of schedule to sign a very big portion of the China deal," the president told reporters at Joint Base Andrews on Monday. "And we'll call it 'phase one,' but it's a very big portion. That would take care of the farmers. It would take care of some of the other things."
Trade negotiators have been in touch by phone and plan to speak again soon, according to Chinese officials.