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China, US likely to conclude BIT talks in two years, says official

2014-10-09 13:39 Xinhua Web Editor: Qin Dexing

China and the United States are likely to conclude Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) negotiations within two years, China's Vice Finance Minister Zhu Guangyao said Wednesday.

China and United States have made big progress on the text of the treaty and the two sides will start substantive negotiations on the "negative list," namely, sectors and items barred to each other's investment, early next year, Zhu said at the Peterson Institute of International Economics, a Washington-based think tank.

Zhu said it should be a high-standard and high-quality investment treaty, and it is possible to conclude the BIT talks within two years as a legacy of US President Barack Obama's administration.

He also noted that as a treaty, the China-US BIT needs a two-third majority vote in the US Senate, and gets approval from China's National People's Congress.

Zhu hoped that Chinese President Xi Jinping and US President Obama could give clear instructions to negotiating teams of both sides to advance the BIT talks when they meet next month.

Obama is scheduled to attend the informal leaders' meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) in Beijing in November and hold a summit with Xi.

China and the United States began the BIT talks in 2008 as the two countries sought to lift mutual investment, which only accounted for a tiny share of their overseas investment.

At the China-US Strategic and Economic Dialogue (S&ED) this July, the two countries agreed to resolve core issues and major provisions of the BIT by the end of this year, and initiate negotiations on the "negative list" in early 2015.

China wants the United States to narrow national security reviews on Chinese investment, while the US side would like to see China keep its "negative list," which details sectors barred to US investment, as short as possible.

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