On September 15, USCIB joined with the Emergency Committee for American Trade, the U.S.-China Business Council and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to co-host a briefing by U.S. negotiators on the status of the bilateral investment treaty (BIT) negotiations with China. The United States currently has BITs with some 40 other countries, and their provisions are included in many U.S. free trade agreements. The treaties help protect private investment, develop market-oriented policies in partner countries and promote U.S. exports.
Wesley Scholz, director of the State Department’s Office of Investment Affairs, and Daniel Bahar with the office of the U.S. Trade Representative said that, while negotiations with China were initiated under the Bush Administration, at last July’s bilateral Strategic and Economic Dialogue meetings in Washington, the two governments reaffirmed that the BIT negotiations were ongoing and could contribute to the implementation of G-20 commitments to an open global economy.
Comments on China’s WTO Commitments
USCIB recently provided comments to the U.S. Trade Representative’s office in response to an annual request for information on China’s compliance with its World Trade Organization commitments. We received valuable comments and updates to the document this year from engaged USCIB members highlighting industry concerns in a number of different industries on China’s progress toward the market liberalization benchmarks it agreed to in joining the WTO in 2001. USCIB’s submission can be found on the China Committee webpage.
Several rounds of negotiations have been held, focusing on a detailed explanation by each side of their model text (see related story). The next step will be to attempt to produce a consolidated and bracketed text from which the hard negotiations will ensue. Importantly, Mr. Scholz and Mr. Bahar stated that the tone of the discussions is positive and constructive. The next round of negotiations is expected to take place in November.
USCIB member Christopher Wall (Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman) hosted the meeting, and USCIB Trade and Investment Committee Chair Scott Milller, (Procter & Gamble) guided the discussion.