US, China see trade-deal hope; negotiations open in Beijing

Before this week's talks, China made gestures to show it is serious about committing to changes -- unlike in past rounds of negotiations, when it waited until talks ended to take action, said Jake Parker, vice president at the US-China Business Council. For example, in recent weeks China has released a draft of foreign investment legislation that bans Chinese companies from forcing foreign partners to hand over their technology secrets and prohibits governments from illegally "interfering" with foreign companies' operations, practices that have long riled Western firms. China has also resumed purchases of US rice and soybeans.