US preps for 8th high-level S&ED
We were able to have a robust exchange of ideas and make concrete progress.”
China and the United States will kick off their annual high-level bilateral meeting early next month in Beijing to address a set of serious bilateral economic and security issues.
The Eighth Strategic and Economic Dialogue (S&ED) will be the last one to be held under the Obama administration.
Nathan Sheets, the US undersecretary of Treasury for international affairs, praised the last few years’ S&EDs for making progress in such areas as promoting the rule of law, strengthening regulatory transparency and encouraging economic reforms.
Sheets said he was especially happy with last year’s S&ED, which took place a few months before President Xi Jinping’s state visit to the US in September. “We were able to have a robust exchange of ideas and make concrete progress on an ambitious set of economic outcomes,” he told a group at the Brookings Institution on Tuesday.
Sheets said the US will engage China on a number of key issues this year, including global excess industrial capacity, investment liberalization and macroeconomic rebalancing. He gave a long list of US concerns, from market access to a level playing field and exchange rates.
Chinese officials have not publicly talked about their agenda for this year’s S&ED. But China has long pressed the US to lift its outdated restrictions on high-tech exports to China, to make the CFIUS (Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States) review process of Chinese foreign direct investment in the US fairer and more transparent.
Sheets said the two authorities were discussing mechanisms to facilitate RMB trading and clearing in the US, something he described as a “priority highlighted in President Obama’s meeting with President Xi last September”. He said the US is waiting for a new negative list from China in negotiating a high-standard Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT).
Hope for a BIT to be concluded under the Obama administration has been dampened by the 2016 US campaign. The Obama administration is still trying to get a divided Congress to ratify the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Anti-trade rhetoric has been running strong on the presidential campaign trail.
Sheets noted that China has begun embarking on a reform agenda toward more sustainable and balanced growth by addressing issues such as industrial overcapacity, opening up the service sector, strengthening the social safety net, implementing land reform and promoting a more market-based financial system.
“Constructive engagement with China is important for the United States and for the millions of American jobs which depend on a strong, stable and growing global economy,” he said.
State Councilor Yang Jiechi and Vice-Premier Wang Yang will head the Chinese delegation to this year’s S&ED. The US team will be led by Secretary of State John Kerry and Treasury Secretary Jack Lew.
Kerry will also join Vice-Premier Liu Yandong for the Seventh ChinaUS Consultation on People-to-People Exchange (CPE).