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Timetable laid out for investment treaty talks

By Li Jiabao (China Daily) Updated: 2014-07-11 03:25

The two-day high-level dialogue between China and the United States has led to a timetable for talks on a bilateral investment treaty and other agreements in broad areas, boosting relations between the world's two largest economies despite remaining differences.

This year, the two countries will try to reach consensus on the core issues of the text of the bilateral investment treaty negotiations. They pledged to start the second phase of negotiations in 2015 over the negative list, which specifies bans and restrictions on types of foreign investment, Vice-Premier Wang Yang said on Thursday during the conclusion of the sixth China-US Strategic and Economic Dialogue.

The S&ED, held in Beijing, narrowed divergences and brought about more than 90 agreements, Wang said.

Vice-Minister of Finance Zhu Guangyao said: "We will still see great difficulties in the talks because of different national conditions and development levels. ... The challenge of negotiating the negative list will be huge, but the meaning will be very significant."

The US also welcomed Chinese investment and promised to provide an open environment.

The Committee on Foreign Investment in the US will use universal standards in reviewing foreign investment projects and maintain discussions with China over the concepts in the review, Wang said.

Yang Xiyu, a researcher at the China Institute of International Studies, said, "The fruits of this year's dialogue are very tangible and pragmatic. The timetable of the treaty talks is important in shedding hope on the conclusion. The US also clearly expressed its attitude on Chinese investment and review."

He added that "fruits on the economic track far outperform that in the strategic and security tracks. This shows that China and the US have entered a new and mature relationship, with an eye on cooperation in areas with reachable agreements and enough intelligence to control differences in areas where consensus is impossible."

Wang said that the hard-won fruits of the S&ED will lay the foundation for the top leaders' meeting during the November Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Beijing.

"The success of this year's S&ED again proves that China and the US have the ability and wit to properly tackle the differences and overcome difficulties to keep the ship of Sino-US relations sailing on the right route," he said.

US Secretary of State John Kerry said that China's success is in the interests of the US and "we seek a relationship defined not by strategic rivalry but by practical cooperation on common challenges and constructive management of the differences where our interests diverges".

Zhao Shengnan and Li Xiaokun contributed to this story.

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