A Chinese official said Tuesday the Chinese government will allow its companies to operate in India by allowing them to trade with Indian firms as early as this year.

“We will open the doors of our companies in India.

That is our goal.

We will allow Indian companies to trade freely,” Liu Yunming, secretary-general of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, told reporters during a press briefing in Beijing.

The announcement comes after the government announced it would allow foreign direct investment into Indian companies, though it said the policy will not extend to investments made through Indian companies.

Liu said China will “open the door” to such transactions as soon as possible.

He did not say when such deals would be possible.

Liu also said the government will not allow its state-owned enterprises to compete with foreign firms in China.

China, India, Japan, and South Korea each have about $500 billion of bilateral trade.

India has the world’s third-largest economy and is the world leader in technology exports.

India and China have been at odds over disputed issues, such as sovereignty in the South China Sea and the disputed Doklam region.

India says China is building artificial islands in the disputed Spratly Islands.