The Chinese Ministry of Commerce has officially asked its US counterpart to begin negotiations for a suspension agreement.

A document posted by the US Department of Commerce and seen by PV Tech, was received inside the new extended deadline on Friday. The letter, signed by Li Xie, the division director at the trade remedy investigation bureau at the ministry of commerce, formally offers Commerce secretary Penny Pritzker the opportunity to discuss the offer.

A suspension agreement would be a stepping stone toward a longer term settlement of the long-running trade row. Until all parties had agreed its terms however, there would be no moratorium on the preliminary tariff and deposits imposed in June and July. The investigation would continue unaffected by talks on a suspension agreement.

Roth Capital Partners has said that expectations of a settlement being reached have increase from five to 40%.

“We spoke with a trade expert with 30 years of experience, and he believes this a ‘major step’ in reaching a resolution. In over 30 years of experience, our trade expert has seen around 10 suspension agreement offers from China, and less than half have succeeded. We note that just because the offer was made does not mean the US government or the US solar industry, i.e. SolarWorld (SWVK-NC), will accept the offer,” the company was quoted as saying in a Barron’s blog.

“We believe, however, the Chinese government would not have made an offer without believing it would have a decent probability of success as it does not want to be rejected by the US government publicly,” the note continued.