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China, America could finish investment treaty talks under Obama administration: USTR

(Xinhua)    09:28, April 18, 2015

WASHINGTON, April 17 -- China and United States could conclude the negotiations on bilateral investment treaty (BIT) before U.S. President Barack Obama leaves office, U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Michael Froman said Friday.

China agreed to engage the negotiations on BIT with the U.S. based on the pre-establishment national treatment and a negative list approach two years ago, and the two countries had serious rounds of negotiations in 2014, Froman told Xinhua after a panel discussion on the new global trade landscape at he sidelines of the ongoing spring meetings of the International Monetary Fund ( IMF) and World Bank.

Last year's negotiations were "quite productive" in terms of going through the basic elements of the treaty, and "this year I think we'll focus on the negative lists," Froman said, adding that he expected the two sides to exchange the negative lists on which foreign investments are restricted by host countries very soon.

Froman said the quality and length of the negative lists are going to be an equivalent indictor of China's commitment to open up its economy, and the United States hopes China makes a lot of efforts to keep its negative lists narrow and short, in consistent with the overall comprehensive reform agenda announced at the third plenum of the 18th Communist Party of China Central Committee in late 2013.

"If we could finish this, the bilateral investment treaty negotiations would close under this administration," the U.S. top trade official said.

Talks on the treaty began in 2008 as both countries sought to increase mutual investment, which only accounted for a tiny share of their overseas investment.

Chinese officials have also said the country expects to complete the BIT negotiations under Obama's term.

The treaty is expected to cement the foundation of China-U.S. economic ties and significantly benefit global economy.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Editor:Gao Yinan,Bianji)

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