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China-US S&ED useful to move forward bilateral agenda: experts

Xinhua | Updated: 2013-07-16 13:24

WASHINGTON - The just concluded fifth round of US-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue (S&ED) can help to move forward the bilateral agenda in a positive way, US experts said on Monday.

"I think the meetings were useful," Matthew Goodman, who holds the William E. Simon Chair in Political Economy at the US think tank Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), told Xinhua in a phone interview.

This was the first opportunity of the new chairmen on both sides - Chinese Vice Premiere Wang Yang, State Councilor Yang Jiechi, US Secretary of Treasury Jacob Lew and Secretary of State John Kerry, to "have had a chance to meet the group and talk about the agenda in the S&ED and to get to know each other, which is the very important part of the dialogue," said Goodman.

Investment treaty talks

Goodman said the most concrete outcome under the economic track of the latest round of S&ED was the significant progress and new political commitment in bilateral investment treaty (BIT) talks between Washington and Beijing.

After nine rounds of technical discussions, the two sides have agreed to enter into substantive negotiations of BIT.

"They agreed to expand scope of the negotiations to include, you know in principle, all the sectors except those on the 'negative list.' That's a good approach," said Goodman, adding that all aspects of investment also include "pre-establishment" as well as regulatory treatment.

"It would be valuable to the world and to the two countries if there was a good BIT. But this is just the beginning. It will be a difficult process," Derek Scissors, senior research fellow at The Heritage Foundation told Xinhua in an interview.

"China must initiate reforms in concrete terms...and the US must decide its priorities in the BIT and not ask for too much," he added.

Scissors believed the China-US BIT could not possibly go ahead of either the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations or even the US-EU trade talks as the Obama administration does not have infinite resources.

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