Washington, D.C., June 18, 2008– The United States Council for International Business (USCIB ), which represents America’s top global companies, welcomed today’s announcement by the United States and China that they would launch negotiations for a bilateral investment treaty to better encourage and protect two-way investment. The group said it would urge U.S. negotiators to secure an ambitious, market-opening agreement.
“We strongly encourage the U.S. to aim for a high-standards agreement that would tear down market access barriers in China, eliminate discriminatory measures and thereby improve our competitiveness,” said Stephen J. Canner, USCIB’s vice president for investment and financial services.
U.S. and Chinese officials, meeting in Annapolis, Maryland as part of the bilateral Strategic Economic Dialogue, today formally announced the launch of investment treaty negotiations. U.S. officials said a new bilateral pact would help to ensure fair treatment for U.S. companies with operations in China, promote greater transparency, smooth the transfer of capital in and out of the country, and ensure compensation for investors in the event of expropriation.
“USCIB has long underscored the tremendous benefits of foreign investment for America’s economy,” stated Mr. Canner. “China will be one of our most important markets for decades to come, so it is critical that we secure a more stable, predictable commercial relationship. An ambitious bilateral investment treaty would also encourage greater Chinese investment and job-creation in the United States.”
The U.S. has negotiated bilateral investment treaties with numerous nations and integrated key investment provisions into most of its free-trade agreements. Based on the standard, “model” treaty that the U.S. has adopted as a negotiating tool, an ambitious agreement with China would contain strong provisions to ensure:
- core investment protections, including fair and equitable treatment, full protection and security, compensation for expropriation, free transfer of capital and disciplines on performance requirements;
- greater market access, via national treatment and most-favored nation treatment across all sectors, of particular importance in China where its investments restrictions at the national, provincial and local levels are often opaque;
- access to investor-state dispute settlement for breaches of the agreement and existing and future investment agreements with U.S. investors.
According to Mr. Canner, China has already secured bilateral investment pacts with numerous other countries. “The lack of a treaty with the U.S. undermines the competitiveness of our investors in the large and growing China market,” he said.
Founded in 1945, USCIB promotes an open system of global commerce in which business can flourish and contribute to economic growth, human welfare and protection of the environment. Its membership encompasses over 300 leading U.S. companies, professional services firms and associations whose combined annual revenues exceed $3.5 trillion. As American affiliate of several leading global business groups, USCIB provides business views to policy makers and regulatory authorities worldwide and works to facilitate international trade. More at www.uscib.org.
Jonathan Huneke, VP Communications, USCIB
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