China pledged to reduce the government's influence over the manufacturing sector and boost the protection of intellectual property rights as top U.S. negotiators head to Beijing this week to continue trade talks, Reuters reported.
"We will gradually reduce the government's micro-management and direct intervention, in order to allow the market to effectively decide resource allocation and support the development of the manufacturing industry," Minister of Industry and Informational Technology Miao Wei was quoted as saying at the China Development Forum in Beijing.
China's industrial policy is a key focus of the trade rift between Beijing and Washington. The U.S. is also seeking to hold China accountable for what it cites as forced technology transfers from U.S. companies doing business there, as well as other intellectual property issues.
U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin are set to travel to Beijing to meet Chinese Vice Premier Liu He on March 28 as the countries work to produce a trade agreement and lift stiff tariffs imposed on each other's goods.
Miao added that China will continue to push for its high-tech manufacturing drive, allowing small and medium-sized firms to play a bigger role in the sector, Reuters reported.
Meanwhile, Finance Minister Liu Kun said at the same event that the government will speed up its debt sales this year, targeting to complete the issuance of 3.08 trillion yuan of local government debt by September, Bloomberg reported.
Other planned initiatives mentioned at the forum include the establishment of pilot free-trade zones, lower tariffs, reduction of taxes and fees, measures protecting intellectual property rights, and changes to the yuan exchange rate formation mechanism, Xinhua News Agency and Bloomberg reported.
The planned tax and fee reductions were estimated to amount to nearly 2 trillion yuan in 2019, according to the Xinhua report.
China earlier passed a foreign investment law aimed at creating a level playing field for domestic and foreign companies, a move that came days after the world's second-largest economy lowered its 2019 growth targets.
As of March 22, US$1 was equivalent to 6.72 Chinese yuan.