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New negative list nearly ready as BIT talks intensify

Wang Yanfei/Xin Zhiming
Updated: Jun 7,2016 7:07 AM

Vice-Premier Liu Yandong (front row, center), Vice-Premier Wang Yang (third from right), State Councilor Yang Jiechi (second from right), Foreign Minister Wang Yi (right), United States Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew (third from left), US Secretary of State John Kerry (fourth from left) and other officials at the opening ceremony of the eighth China-US Strategic and Economic Dialogue and the seventh China-US High-Level Consultation on People-to-People Exchange in Beijing on June 6.[Photo by Feng Yongbin/China Daily]

China will provide its “negative list” next week of sectors that would remain off-limits to US investors, as negotiations on a bilateral investment treaty intensify, Vice-Premier Wang Yang said on June 6.

Wang made the remark in the opening session of the economic track of the two-day China-US Strategic and Economic Dialogue, which began on June 6 in Beijing.

The economic track of the dialogue is scheduled to focus on such issues as bilateral trade and economic relations, the macroeconomic situation and policies, and financial stability and reform.

China and the United States have conducted 24 rounds of BIT negotiations in the past eight years. US officials have demanded a narrower negative list, but analysts said the US should not apply developed-economy standards of market entrance to China, a developing country, if it wants to conclude the talks soon.

The US hopes to conclude negotiations on a BIT by the end of Barack Obama’s presidency.

Yu Miaojie, deputy head of the National School of Development at Peking University, said that the different development stages of China and the US should be taken into consideration in the BIT negotiations. “If the US can treat China as a developing economy, not a developed one, future negotiations would become smoother,” he said.

The two sides also discussed ways to stabilize global economic growth and financial markets. They should strengthen economic policy exchanges and coordination and improve global economic governance through innovation, said Finance Minister Lou Jiwei.

Vice-Premier Wang highlighted the difficulties arising from rising interest rates in the United States.

“Expectations of interest rate hikes by the US Federal Reserve have increased uncertainties on the economic growth of emerging market economies,” Wang said.

Lou said when to increase interest rates might remain to be a concern for the Federal Reserve. “The hike will have an impact on China and the global markets as well as the US financial markets,” he said. “The US economy is recovering, but the recovery remains fragile.”

Lou also said China will take various measures to ensure smooth implementation of its program to reduce overcapacity.

The US supports China’s efforts to cut excess industrial capacity and encourages its use of fiscal and lending policies to strengthen consumer demand as part of its economic transition, US Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew said on June 6.

At the Strategic and Economic Dialogue, State Councilor Yang Jiechi and US Secretary of State John Kerry are co-chairing the strategic track, while Wang and Lew are co-chairing the economic track.