U.S. lobby disappointed by slow progress towards China treaty

Mon Sep 21, 2015 5:56pm EDT
 
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By David Brunnstrom

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. business lobby expressed disappointment on Monday at the pace of negotiations on a bilateral investment treaty with China and said it was important that President Xi Jinping address the growing concerns of U.S. firms when he visits the United States this week.

Last week, the U.S. Trade Representative's office said the United States and China had exchanged revised lists of sectors that would be off limits in an investment treaty but gave no details.

Myron Brilliant, executive vice president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, said the progress had been "incremental, not substantial."

While he had not seen the Chinese list, he understood the number of sectors that remained off-limits to U.S. investment had gone down from about 80 to between 35 and 40.

"Typically when we negotiate bilateral investment treaties with other countries, we are talking about one piece of paper, not a thick document excluding these main sectors.

"There's still a long way to go here ... China has got to come much further with its offer."

Sunday's Washington Post quoted Zhang Xiangchen, China’s deputy representative for international trade, as saying that positive progress could be expected during Xi's visit, which will start with visits to tech firms in Seattle.

He declined to comment on when a deal might be reached, noting only that China’s entrance to the World Trade Organization took 15 years and that this treaty was “no less important or complex.”   Continued...

 
China's President Xi Jinping  in Beijing, China, September 9, 2015 REUTERS/Lintao Zhang/Pool