A long-running dispute between the U.S. and China over the ability to vet auditors of Chinese companies listed on American exchanges is edging toward a possible breakthrough. Two big U.S.-listed Chinese companies— Alibaba and Baidu—and their outside auditors are preparing for audit inspections by officials from the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, the U.S. audit-industry regulator. The PCAOB is expected to gain access in coming months to audit firms’ records of the work they did to review Alibaba’s and Baidu’s books, according to The Wall Street Journal. That could be a prelude to fuller PCAOB inspections of the audit firms, a move long blocked by the Chinese government. PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Hong Kong affiliate is Alibaba’s auditor; Ernst & Young’s Beijing affiliate is Baidu’s.