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Investment negotiations to continue unhindered

Zhong Nan/Jing Shuiyu
Updated: Nov 9,2017 7:22 AM     China Daily

Negotiations concerning a bilateral investment treaty between China and the United States will not be delayed or obstructed by trade disputes because both countries are under pressure to stimulate their economies, officials and experts said on Nov 8.

Wei Jianguo, vice-president of the China Center for International Economic Exchanges, said trade disputes will not alter the aim of fewer restrictions on investment.

“The economic growth resulting from such reductions would help the Trump administration fulfill its promise of creating jobs in the US manufacturing sector, at least within the next two years,” Wei said.

China has already signed bilateral investment treaties with 130 countries and regions, according to the Ministry of Commerce.

“The US economy relies on investment from China to create new market growth points and boost the employment and export markets,” said Yu Jianlong, secretary-general of the China Chamber of International Commerce.

He added that shutting down the channels for discussions related to bilateral investment would not be in the interests of the US federal government or local governments, especially those located in the country’s Rust Belt.

Last year, investment between China and the US exceeded $170 billion.

Increasing Chinese companies have invested in the US in the past decade, attracted by the size of the market.

For example, in March, CRRC Sifang America, a wholly owned subsidiary of China Railway Rolling Stock Corp, began construction of a $100 million plant in Chicago after being awarded a $1.3 billion contract to supply more than 840 new railcars to replace about half of the Chicago Transit Authority’s fleet.

Yao Zhizhong, deputy director of the Institute of World Economics and Politics at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing, said an investment treaty would further China’s ambition of becoming a global manufacturing powerhouse by 2025.

“It would boost the confidence of Chinese companies to invest in the US by providing greater certainty about Chinese investors’ rights in the country,” he said. “The validation of an investment treaty would help Chinese and US companies to operate independent businesses in each other’s markets in the long term, instead of searching for local partners to form joint ventures. That would give investors more flexibility to control their finances and make investment decisions.”

Negotiations about a China-US bilateral investment treaty were launched in 2008. The discussions have made notable progress, including cutting the number of industries on the negative list-industries in which foreign investment is banned-and creating the momentum and public support to guarantee investors’ interests on both sides.