Renewed effort to conclude BIT negotiations would benefit both China and US

By Hu Weijia Source:Global Times Published: 2017/4/25 23:38:40

There has been a lot of discussion about the so-called 100-day plan for China-US trade talks, aiming to boost US exports and reduce its trade deficit with China, but less attention has been paid to efforts promoting investment facilitation. In this context, plans to restart the talks over a Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) between the two countries should be considered.

It is understandable that US President Donald Trump wants to address the US' enormous trade deficit with China in a bid to bring manufacturing jobs back to the country, but it will not be easy to jack up US exports. If the US has the ultimate objective of creating more jobs at home, the most simple and effective way is to attract more companies and institutions to invest.

Employment by Chinese companies in the US "has jumped nine-fold since 2009 to 140,000 jobs," the Financial Times (FT) said Tuesday. It seems Chinese firms in the US have made a great contribution to Trump's campaign pledge to create more jobs.

Negotiations on the Sino-US BIT have been underway since 2008. The treaty would give companies better access to each other's markets and thus boost investment. However, according to another FT report, some of the negotiations were put on hold after Trump claimed victory in the presidential election. Now it is time to speed up negotiations in order to reach an agreement as soon as possible. The talks could perhaps be included in the agenda of the 100-day plan.

The possibility of an all-out trade war between China and the US has been reduced after the two countries took a cooperative attitude earlier this month and agreed on the plan. Now people are watching to see if the talks can further boost the economic and commercial ties between the two countries. Although it will not be plain sailing for the two nations to agree on the BIT, the negotiations themselves are already a relatively easy part of Sino-US ties.

China is witnessing a boom in outbound direct investment, and Trump backs plans to boost investment in the US. This will enable the US to take advantage of its economic complementarity with China to boost employment, rather than engaging in a trade war. Last week, The American Chamber of Commerce in China said in a statement that it hopes the Chinese government will work with the US to negotiate a robust BIT with a short negative list. Hopefully its member enterprises could also put pressure on the Trump administration to speed up the negotiations with China.

The author is a reporter with the Global Times. bizopinion@globaltimes.com.cn

Posted in: EYE ON THE ECONOMY

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