Business / Economy

US-China understanding benefits the world

By Thomas J. Donohue (China Daily) Updated: 2015-09-25 11:13

China also has much to gain from a BIT. Increased US investment in China would create Chinese jobs, lead to higher-value products and lower prices for consumers, expand China's tax base, and introduce valuable managerial and technical expertise into the country. In addition, a BIT would boost the confidence of Chinese entities considering the risks and benefits of investing in the world's largest and most competitive market.

Securing a high-standard, comprehensive BIT will not be easy, however. BITs are ambitious agreements that result in significant changes in the way foreign investment is regulated. The BIT should ensure that governments do not favor their state-owned enterprises that compete commercially and ensure they operate in accordance with commercial considerations; limit the discretion of regulators to unfairly discriminate in their enforcement of law; mandate increased transparency, fairness and due process in administrative and judicial enforcement; and provide a bulwark against policies that attempt to coerce or induce the transfer of technology and localization of data.

Urgent improvements

The good news is that the Chinese government has already created opportunities for meaningful improvements to a number of these concerns in the short-term, without the mandate of a BIT. Such improvements are urgently needed to benefit the Chinese economy, advance innovation and increase consumer welfare.

China needs to adopt key reforms with or without a BIT, a fact Chinese leaders acknowledged in their plan for accelerating reform presented at the third plenary session of the Communist Party's 18th Central Committee in 2013. A significantly improved negative list offer would provide a measurable signal of President Xi's intent to increase the role of the market in the economy and to pursue inclusive reforms that allow foreign companies to play a greater role in helping China achieve its goals as a prosperous and innovative economy. Near-term market opening in advance of a BIT would also go a long way to creating the momentum and public support needed in the US to secure a high standard BIT once negotiations are completed.

The development of US-China relations is a defining strategic issue for both countries. Concluding negotiations on a high-standard BIT is the best opportunity facing both presidents to renew the vision for the partnership and take concrete steps to improve it. Importantly, it would also ensure that cooperation, rather than differences, dominate in this complex relationship.

This is the purpose of the US Chamber's joint efforts with the China Center for International Economic Exchanges to strengthen business-to-business engagement through regular dialogue among CEOs on both sides. When CCIEE chairman and former vice-premier Zeng Peiyan and I convene the seventh meeting of the US-China CEO Dialogue in Beijing days prior to President Xi's departure for the US, we will call on the two governments to strategically address broader bilateral relations.

Leaders, politicians and citizens of both countries must demonstrate clarity, common sense and maturity in conducting and viewing our bilateral relations. We can forge a deeper commercial engagement that benefits the workers and businesses of both countries, and this must happen even as we work through our challenges.

Thomas J. Donohue is president and CEO of the US Chamber of Commerce, the world's largest business federation representing the interests of more than 3 million businesses.

Previous Page 1 2 Next Page

Hot Topics

Editor's Picks