Photo: iStock / Getty
Photo: iStock / Getty

A new front in the US-China trade discussions was revealed on Wednesday, with a report indicating that Beijing may be open to overhauling its rules governing access to its cloud computing market.

Chinese officials held a meeting with representatives from leading US cloud service providers, including Microsoft and Amazon, Bloomberg reported, citing people familiar with the talks.

One of the two sources said that China was considering eliminating a key barrier to entering the market, requiring joint ventures with Chinese firms. Restrictions, including the requirement to partner with a local firm, have scared many companies away from setting up operations in China for fear of being forced to hand over technology.

Optimism that Washington and Beijing will come to agreement on a trade deal to end a lengthy trade conflict has continued in recent weeks, with officials on both sides expressing that progress is being made. Question marks remain regarding the timing of a deal, though US President Donald Trump has said that a deal could be ready as soon as the end of this month.

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in an interview with CNBC on Wednesday that the two sides had made progress on what has emerged as one of the most difficult remaining impasses, how to enforce terms of a deal.

“We’ve pretty much agreed on an enforcement mechanism, we’ve agreed that both sides will establish enforcement offices that will deal with the ongoing matters,” Mnuchin said, though he warned there remained issues to be resolved.

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