Investment treaty between China and US key business goal

Investment treaty between China & US key business goal

SEATTLE (AP) — When Chinese President Xi Jinping addresses a meeting of some of the top names in Chinese & American business Wednesday, they may be most interested what he says approximately progress toward a treaty between the nations that would provide a framework for broader investment in each other's economy.

Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook, Microsoft's Satya Nadella, Amazon's Jeff Bezos, investor Warren Buffett & Jack Ma of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba are among the 30 top executives attending a closed-door discussion being moderated by former U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, who has advocated for such a treaty. All of the American CEOs participating signed a letter to Xi & U.S. President Barack Obama urging them to support an agreement.

Bilateral investment treaties provide the rules of the road for companies doing business in other countries, & can assist ensure that the rights of foreign investors are protected & that foreign companies operate on a level playing field with domestic ones. An agreement with China would open up more of that nation's massive market to American companies, provide clearer rules for Chinese investment in the U.S., & create jobs on both sides, supporters say.

p>Such treaties "can be a powerful catalyst for more economic growth," Evan Feigenbaum, vice chairman of the Paulson Institute, which is co-hosting Wednesday's meeting, said Tuesday.

Xi arrived in Seattle Tuesday for a three-day visit before he travels to the White House after this week. He's expected to make brief remarks to the attendees before the session closes to the press.

Notable absences at Wednesday's business discussion were representatives from Twitter, Facebook & Google. Those companies' websites are blocked in China.

During a speech Tuesday evening Xi spoke approximately a variety of issues, including the need for a bilateral investment deal.

Early this summer, U.S. Treasury Jacob Lew noted that the two sides had a long way to go in negotiating a bilateral investment treaty, yet had agreed to narrow their respective lists of sectors that would be exempted from foreign investment by this month.

At his policy speech Tuesday evening — attended by dignitaries like former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, former U.S. Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson & Penny Pritzker, Obama's commerce secretary — Xi said China & the United States could work together to address cybercrimes, a problem that has sparked mutual tension.

Xi moreover said China would continue its policy of aggressive development to assist more Chinese people "live a better life."

Striking agreements to ensure continued robust international trade was a top priority, he said. "China will never close its open door to the outside world," Xi said, according to a translation of his remarks.

He said China was a staunch defender of cyber security, yet it had moreover been a victim of hacking.

Acknowledging that China & the United States don't always see eye to eye, Xi said China is ready to set up a joint effort with the United States to fight cybercrimes.

The issue of cyberattacks is a sensitive one between the two nations. American officials say hacking attacks originating from China are approaching epidemic levels.

As Xi spoke Tuesday evening, protesters gathered near the downtown hotel he was staying at, objecting to things like the country's policies in Tibet.

Earlier Tuesday, meetings with governors from five U.S. states & local Chinese officials produced the deal to work on clean energy.

"We can be the core for our national leaders to learn from," Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, who has made five trips to China in five years, told his counterparts.

Xi's visit comes a year after Xi & Obama announced their nations would cooperate to fight climate change.

"These are the largest economies in the world, & we're the biggest emitters of greenhouse gases, so improving cooperation & collaboration is really a necessity," said Brian Young, Washington state director of economic development for the clean technology sector. "Second, it's a huge business opportunity. Both sides recognize the opportunity for job creation."

China invested a record $83 billion in renewable energy last year, according to the Frankfurt School's Center for Climate & Sustainable Energy Finance in Germany.

The governors who met with Xi included Snyder, Jay Inslee of Washington, Jerry Brown of California, Terry Branstad of Iowa & Kate Brown of Oregon. All five — along with Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval, who did not attend the meeting — signed an accord in which they agreed take actions to reduce transportation emissions, support clean energy technologies & exchange ideas.

Chinese leaders at the meeting included Beijing Mayor Wang Anshun & others.

Xi had a busy schedule planned for Wednesday. Including his meeting with business leaders, he was to tour the Boeing & Microsoft campuses & visit a high school south of Seattle in Tacoma.

Source: “Associated Press”