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Report: China eyes more US semiconductor purchases, new foreign investment rules

China is stepping up its efforts to avoid an impending trade war with the U.S., which has asked the Asian nation to implement measures aimed at cutting their trade imbalance, the Financial Times reported.

Beijing has offered to buy more U.S. semiconductors by redirecting some purchases from manufacturers in South Korea and Taiwan, according to the report, which cited sources briefed on the discussions.

Chinese officials are also working to finalize by May new rules that would enable foreign financial groups to acquire majority stakes in Chinese securities firms, the report said.

Meanwhile, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang renewed pledges to ease market access for U.S. businesses, saying China would treat foreign and local companies equally, Reuters reported.

Li also said China would boost intellectual property rights and would not compel foreign firms to transfer technology.

Fears of a trade war between the U.S. and China intensified earlier in March after President Donald Trump ordered tariffs on global steel and aluminum imports and on up to $60 billion of Chinese imports, which prompted Beijing to announce plans of retaliation.

On a possible visit by U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin for talks on trade issues, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying said China is willing to engage in negotiations.

"The door for dialogue and consultation always remains open," she said.