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Renewed emphasis on US-China investment treaty 'positive'

Xinhua | Updated: 2013-07-13 16:11

WASHINGTON -- The intention expressed by the United States and China to pursue a bilateral investment treaty is positive although there are many problems to be addressed, a US expert said here on Friday.

In an interview with Xinhua following the two-day China-US annual Strategic and Economic Dialogue, Nicholas Borst, a senior fellow with the Peterson Institute for International Economics, said both China and the United States "reaffirmed the broad economic reforms" they have already pledged.

Wrapping up the S&ED on Thursday, senior Chinese and US officials highlighted progress in trade and investment as the two countries agreed to enter into substantive negotiations of the China-U.S. Bilateral Investment Treaty.

In Borst's view, the most positive aspect of the announcement is China's public commitment to negotiate the BIT with "high standards", meaning there will be provisions to address market access in addition to the normal investor dispute procedures.

Borst believed China could benefit from US technology and workplace productivity techniques to move up the production value chain, while the United States could benefit from increased access to the Chinese market, especially in the service sector where it has a competitive advantage.

In remarks at the end of the annual talks, Chinese Vice Finance Minister Zhu Guangyao said the two sides agreed to move forward on the investment treaty issue because they have an extensive investment relationship and companies of both sides have great desire to expand bilateral investment.

At the conclusion of the meetings, the two countries also announced further concrete measures to support strong domestic and global growth, promote open trade and investment, enhance international rules and global growth, and foster financial market stability and reform.

China and the United States have been holding the annual S&ED talks since 2009 when US President Barack Obama came to office, as a major channel of communication to enhance mutual trust, boost cooperation and properly handle differences.

As this year's meeting is scheduled just a month after the June summit in California between Chinese President Xi Jinping and Obama, it is considered as a key platform for advancing vision of leaders of the two countries.

For many years, Washington and Beijing "have focused on developing areas of cooperation and managing areas of competition, " Borst said, adding that the S&ED is also useful in terms of building personal relationship between leaders.

Meanwhile, he said there are still "tremendous opportunities" for economic cooperation between the two countries, given that they are at different stages of economic development.

"In most sectors, they are not direct competitors," he said.

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