China pledged on Tuesday to ease access for US companies doing business in China by removing barriers to government procurement and allowing US mutual funds to establish a foothold on the mainland, Reuters reported. The pledges were made during two days of talks between Chinese and US officials at the annual Strategic and Economic Dialogue between the two countries held in Washington. Both sides hailed the general progress of discussions as promising. China clarified a pledge it made during negotiations over China’s “indigenous innovation” policy in January, saying that foreign companies are allowed to bid both for central and local government contracts. Previously many US firms had complained that protectionism at the provincial level was being tolerated by Beijing. China also promised to allow US banks to sell mutual funds in China and offer custodial services, and that it will allow US insurance companies to begin to sell automobile insurance in China for the first time.