Hopes are high for China to announce market access reforms on Tuesday

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Chinese President Xi Jinping has an opportunity this week to announce significant reforms that could de-escalate trade tensions with the world’s largest economy.

The leader is due to deliver a speech at the Boao Forum for Asia, an annual summit that’s been dubbed the “Asian Davos,” on Tuesday and global markets will be watching for remarks on the Beijing’s tit-for-tat tariff war with Washington.

It’s hoped Xi will say something “specific enough and tangible enough to give us confidence that the market access reforms that have been on the table for some time are being pushed,” said Myron Brilliant, executive vice president and head of international affairs at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, a business-oriented lobbying group.

The question on the table is how big the reform package will be and how specific it will be, he told CNBC’s “Street Signs” at the Boao Forum.

“Confidence building measures between China and the United States are necessary at this time to de-escalate the tensions … and that would go a long way today and tomorrow if the President were to say something on that front,” he said.

Washington has long pressed Beijing to level the playing field for foreign companies in China, which remain excluded from certain sectors such as services. Not only will market reforms help heal the U.S.-China relationship, it will also benefit China’s economy, according to Brilliant.

President Donald Trump on Sunday suggested Xi’s government will remove trade barriers “because it is the right thing to do.”

Beijing’s previous reforms, such as November’s announcement of raising foreign equity ownership in financial firms, were “a little bit too little,” Brilliant said. The Trump administration is seeking immediate action from the Chinese that goes beyond financial liberalization, he explained.

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