The US Federal Reserve gave Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) permission to open its first branch in the US, the Wall Street Journal reported. The approval is viewed as a sign of easing restrictions after Chinese officials complained in recent bilateral economic talks that Chinese banks had been denied access to the American market. US banks like Citigroup and Bank of America have already opened branches in China. ICBC is not the first Chinese bank to open US branches. China Merchants Bank was approved to open a New York branch last November. Bank of China and Bank of Communications received approval before the US introduced tighter bank-supervision laws in 1991. ICBC said it will use the new branch "to accelerate its global operating strategy" and "upgrade the competitiveness and influence of China’s financial industry in global financial markets."