Secretary Jacob J. Lew led discussions on economic priorities with the Chinese delegation, headed by Vice Premier Wang Yang.   They were joined by leaders from 17 U.S. government agencies, and heads and senior officials representing all key Chinese economic ministries.

Two developments are particularly noteworthy:

  • China announced its intention to begin negotiations with the U.S. to create a new, high-standard bilateral investment treaty (BIT) that, for the first time, would cover all phases of investment, including market access, and all sectors of the Chinese economy, excluding any negotiated exceptions. The U.S. Treasury noted that it considered the new BIT “a priority for the United States” and a critical step toward leveling the playing field, which has always been the dialogue’s goal.  “A successful BIT negotiation would open up China’s highly restrictive system to foreign investment and help create a wide range of opportunities for U.S. firms to participate in the Chinese market,” said the Treasury following China’s announcement.
  • China’s commitment to open up further to foreign investment in services, including through the establishment of the Shanghai Free Trade Zone pilot. Details about the Free Trade Zone have yet to be finalized, but the pilot program is, according to Treasury, “expected to permit foreign enterprises to compete on the same terms as Chinese firms across a wide range of service sectors.”

The U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue was established by President Obama and Chinese President Hu in April 2009 and represents the highest-level bilateral forum to discuss a broad range of issues between the two nations. The Dialogue is an essential step in advancing a positive, constructive, and comprehensive relationship between the two countries.

BIIA Comment:  It is hoped that the opening of services sectors will lead to the opening of consumer credit information services in China.

Source:  Jacob Barron, CICP, NACM staff writer
Source:  US Department of the Treasury