“There have been some moves in the direction of opening up and that’s good and that’s welcome, but it’s really really small,” said William Zarit, chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce in Beijing and senior counselor at The Cohn Group, a consulting firm. He noted that general services, logistics, medical devices and construction are some areas where Western firms still report an uneven playing field with state-supported Chinese companies.

“Frankly,” Zarit said, “I think this is really the key to defusing a lot of the friction and tensions: significant, sweeping, timely reforms.”