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Premier gets down to business, meets executives in New York

Li Xiang and Zhong Nan
Updated: Sep 21,2016 8:13 AM     China Daily

Premier Li Keqiang’s meeting with top executives in New York will help to push forward China-US economic relations, including ongoing negotiations on bilateral investment, experts said.

In his four-day New York trip to attend the annual United Nations session, Premier Li has been reaching out to the US business community as much as possible and has met representatives of the media, think tanks and leaders from economic and financial circles. On Sept 20, he and his entourage will also attend a reception hosted by the Economic Club of New York, a non-profit membership organization.

The meeting with business executives is seen as a public diplomacy effort by Premier Li to set out a clear direction for future China-US relations and to strengthen mutual understanding between the business communities of the two countries.

Xu Hongcai, a researcher with the China Center for International Economic Exchanges, said that Premier Li’s meeting with the business leaders in New York shows China’s desire to gain insight into the concerns of the business community, which could advance China-US commercial relations from a bottom-up approach.

“It shows that the Chinese leader wants to know more about the demands of the business community and to respond to their concerns and questions,” Xu said.

Negotiations for the bilateral investment treaty comprise one of the most closely watched issues in China-US economic relations.

Experts have urged greater flexibility in resolving disputes in the negotiations so that the two sides could soon reach agreement on the treaty.

China and the US have made progress toward concluding the negotiations for a treaty with the objective of creating fair, transparent and liberalized investment regimes.

The two sides have recently exchanged the third revised and significantly improved negative list proposals. A negative list defines sectors that remain off-limits to each other’s investments, with areas not on the list considered to be open.

Li Guanghui, vice-president of the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation in Beijing, said both sides should intensify negotiations and speed up work to conclude a mutually beneficial treaty with high standards.

But he warned that the negotiation could be more challenging with the US presidential election in November creating more uncertainties.

China and the United States started the treaty negotiations in 2008 to increase mutual investment. Since June, the two countries have engaged in negotiations on negative lists.

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