China and the US are expected to reach consensus on a Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) that will be under discussion at a top-level economic dialogue this week after the State Council officially endorsed a “negative list” system on Tuesday.
The sixth round of U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue, a two-day event that is being led by Chinese Vice-Premier Wang Yang and US Secretary of State John Kerry, began on Wednesday in Beijing.
Negotiations on the BIT are a highlight of the meeting, First Financial Daily reported.
On Tuesday, a so-called negative list system was given the nod by China’s cabinet. In principle, all foreign business sectors and investments that are not included in the list will be allowed to enter the mainland market, meaning that more US industries will be able to enter China after the system is put into place.
But the State Council has not said when the negative list will be finalized, other than saying that it will be mapped out by the National Development and Reform Commission and the Ministry of Commerce.
Bai Ming, a senior researcher at the Ministry of Commerce, has said earlier that differences between China and the US on the negative list were a key factor hampering further progress on the negotiations.
Zhu Guangyao, vice finance minister, said before the BIT meeting that he expects the two sides to achieve new consensus about the investment treaty.
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