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US, China Move Forward on Bilateral Investment Treaty

Trade Tops US, China Talks Wednesdayi
July 11, 2013 10:42 AM
Trade issues topped the opening on Wednesday of strategic and economic talks between the United States and China. As VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, U.S. business leaders say the high-level talks are an opportunity for U.S. officials to push for lower trade barriers.
Related video report by Scott Stearns "Trade Tops US, China Talks Wednesday"
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U.S. and Chinese officials have agreed to restart negotiations on a bilateral investment treaty - a move hailed by Washington as a "significant breakthrough" that could expand Chinese market access for American investors.
Chinese Commerce Minister Gao Hucheng revealed the deal Thursday, on the sidelines of U.S.-China security and economic talks in Washington. Gao did not offer a specific date for the start of negotiations, but he said they will begin as soon as possible.
U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew praised the agreement, saying it marks the first time Beijing has agreed to negotiate a treaty covering "all sectors and stages of investment with another country."
China and the United States began treaty negotiations in 2008, under former president George W. Bush. But those talks stalled the following year, as President Barack Obama took office.
Beijing had only agreed to participate in the earlier treaty talks if Chinese service sector industries were exempt. U.S. officials say China dropped that demand during current negotiations.
Washington has pushed for such a treaty for years, with U.S. business leaders saying it would expand market access in a country where state-owned companies enjoy many competitive advantages.
A bilateral investment treaty would need approval by two-thirds of the U.S. Senate, where many members have been critical of China's widely perceived failures to curb cyber-espionage and protect U.S. intellectual property.
On Wednesday, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden called for China to stop what he called "outright" cyber theft, which experts say has cost the United States hundreds of billions of dollars a year.
China has denied the accusations, saying it is the victim and not the perpetrator of such attacks. It has become more outspoken on the issue since leaks by ex-U.S. spy agency contractor Edward Snowden revealed alleged widespread U.S. cyber espionage on Chinese and other targets.
Secretary Lew, speaking late Thursday, said China has committed to stronger protections for U.S. intellectual property and trade secrets. But he did not offer details.
Biden's Wednesday speech also addressed the sensitive topic of Chinese human rights. He said China will be stronger, more stable and more innovative if it respects international human rights norms.
U.S. officials said Secretary of State John Kerry was "very forceful" during private discussions on human rights, and raised "specific issues" with the Chinese delegation.

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Comment Sorting
by: Spice Valley Road from: Indiana
July 12, 2013 10:27 AM
I'm sure the Chinese are going to heed Biden's comments. Why doesn't he just say something like, "Hey, we're all on the earth together. Let's just share everything with each other and not worry about who gets what in return. After all, that's only fair. Why should anyone owe more than they can repay?"

by: Yoshi from: Sapporo
July 12, 2013 4:04 AM
I think US should refrain from concerning about South China sea territorial disputes too much because they are mostly the concerns of our Asian coutires and they should be soleved for ourselves, by ourselves.
In Response

by: Samurai from: Japan
July 12, 2013 10:03 AM
Every country behaves only for its own national benefit. So does the USA. However, if the national benefits of USA and other countries coincide with each other, these countries should ally with one another, for example, in order to defend our inherent territories and interests from such a greedy and lawless country as China. Even Japan will have much difficulty in defending its territories alone from China because Japanese nowadays are too peace-addicted.

by: Wangchuk from: NYC
July 11, 2013 9:50 AM
Economic relations with China are important but the US must not forget about human rights. Chinese, Tibetans & Uighurs deserve human rights and the CCP often violates those rights. The US must do more to help improve human rights in China, Tibet & Xinjiang.
In Response

by: Quek from: China
July 12, 2013 12:22 AM
Ridiculously brainwashed foreighners. Unless you've reached there and talked to locals you deserve no rights of condemning so. Tibetans and Uighurs are given priority over us common Hans in many ways. They have privileges instead of being suppressed. The terrorists who slayed common people and attack polices there are described by White House as Uighurs who rise to rebell against central government. Is that true? Ironic, Those innocent common people killed are mostly Uighurs, because they take a more proportion in population than Hans. Chinese government is far too gentle to behave like powerful America who acts as world police and interferes with everything and takes its own advantage.

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