Sino-US BIT talks en­cour­aged

China Daily (USA) - - G20 2016 CHINA - By ZHONG NAN in Hangzhou zhong­nan@chi­

China and the United States should speed up ne­go­ti­a­tions to re­solve thorny is­sues in ar­eas such as na­tional treat­ment in gov­ern­ment pro­cure­ment in or­der to reach a bi­lat­eral in­vest­ment treaty, ex­perts said on Mon­day.

Their com­ments came af­ter the Min­istry of Com­merce an­nounced on Sun­day that treaty ne­go­ti­a­tions had made sig­nif­i­cant progress.

“China and the US should com­plete BIT ne­go­ti­a­tions be­fore Novem­ber’s US pres­i­den­tial elec­tion to pre­vent po­ten­tial po­lit­i­cal in­ter­ven­tion,” said Li Guanghui, vi­cepres­i­dent of the Chi­nese Academy of In­ter­na­tional Trade and Eco­nomic Co­op­er­a­tion in Beijing.

Li said this could be chal­leng­ing, as the pres­i­den­tial elec­tion cam­paign may cre­ate a ten­dency among can­di­dates run­ning for of­fice to blame US eco­nomic prob­lems on other coun­tries.

A bi­lat­eral in­vest­ment treaty, or BIT, is an agree­ment signed be­tween two coun­tries or re­gions per­tain­ing to cross-bor­der in­vest­ment. It as­sures for­eign in­vestors of nondis­crim­i­na­tory treat­ment and pro­tec­tion against un­war­ranted ex­pro­pri­a­tion.

“The road ahead is still very tough,” said Zhang Jian­ping, di­rec­tor of the In­ter­na­tional Eco­nomic Co­op­er­a­tion In­sti­tute at the Na­tional De­vel­op­ment and Re­form Com­mis­sion.

“The val­i­da­tion of the BIT can help both Chi­nese and US com­pa­nies op­er­ate busi­nesses in each other’s mar­kets in­de­pen­dently in the long term, in­stead of look­ing for lo­cal part­ners to form joint ven­tures,” Zhang said.

He said this would give in­vestors more flex­i­bil­ity to con­trol their finances and make in­vest­ment de­ci­sions.

China and the US held their 28th round of BIT talks in Beijing in Au­gust and have con­tin­ued con­sul­ta­tions to this week. Both sides ex­changed new “neg­a­tive list” of­fers, seek­ing to estab­lish nondis­crim­i­na­tory, trans­par­ent and open in­vest­ment through ne­go­ti­a­tions, min­istry spokesman Sun Ji­wen said on Sun­day.

They con­ducted in-depth talks on re­main­ing is­sues in the text of the agree­ment and reached a con­sen­sus on im­por­tant is­sues, Sun said.

Both sides will con­tinue in­ten­sive talks to ad­vance ne­go­ti­a­tions and work to reach a mu­tu­ally ben­e­fi­cial agree­ment, Sun said.

Ne­go­ti­a­tions be­gan in 2008 to in­crease mu­tual in­vest­ment.

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