Bilateral investment talks between the US and China “continue to be productive,” the US Trade Representative’s office said after the two sides exchanged new offers this week.
A USTR spokeswoman said US and Chinese negotiators exchanged revised “negative lists” of sectors that would stay off-limits from foreign investment as they try to reach a deal for a bilateral investment treaty.
“China will need to demonstrate the substantial liberalization of its investment market, ensure that US firms can compete on a level playing field, and address other key priorities to facilitate the progress and successful conclusion of a mutually beneficial and high standard BIT,” the USTR spokeswoman said in a statement.
Obama administration officials and US companies have complained that China has over 100 sectors of its economy closed to US investment and that these must be narrowed substantially to reach a treaty deal.
Chinese officials have said that US security reviews of Chinese acquisitions of American firms are too onerous, particularly for investment in high-technology sectors. The USTR statement did not specify any new sectors that China had offered to open to US investment or divulge other details of Beijing’s latest offer.
US businesses have complained about Chinese ownership restrictions in key areas such as financial services, health insurance, agriculture, and audio-visual, while the Chinese side has complained about limited market access in certain US sectors such as transportation, radio communications, natural resources and high-technology companies.
US Treasury Secretary Jack Lew on Thursday said that “the jury is still out” on the merits of China’s latest negative list, and that Beijing’s negotiating stance in the bilateral investment treaty talks were “one important barometer” in China’s commitment to reform its economy and open it to foreign competition..
Lew also has said that time was running short to complete a treaty deal during the final months of the Obama administration and that an optimum time to reach an agreement was prior to a G20 leaders summit in China in early September.
In another development, sizzling home price rises in China’s biggest cities showed signs of easing in May but sharp gains appeared to be spreading to smaller cities, making policymakers’ job harder as they look to support the faltering economy without inflating bubbles.
The recovery in China’s property market since late last year has been a rare bright spot in the world’s second-largest economy, which has been slowing amid weak demand at home and abroad, cooling investment and excess industrial capacity.
Average new home prices in 70 major cities climbed 6.9 percent last month from a year ago, accelerating from April’s 6.2 percent rise, according to Reuters calculations based on data from the National Statistics Bureau (NBS) on Saturday.
The NBS data showed 50 of the 70 major cities it tracks saw year-on-year price gains, up from 46 in April.
“The average (price) growth of new homes in first-tier cities started to narrow, while it continued to widen in second- and third-tier,” said Liu Jianwei, a senior NBS statistician.
The southern city of Shenzhen remained the top performer, with prices surging 53.2 percent from a year earlier, slower than the 62.4 percent rise in April.
But on a month-on-month basis, prices were up just 0.5 percent after April’s 2.3 percent rise, evidence that property cooling measures introduced by some big cities recently are starting to bite.
Source: Arab News