US CEOs give nod to BIT

Updated: 2015-09-18 11:12

By Bian Jibu in New York(China Daily USA)

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The US-China Business Council (USCBC) and the Paulson Institute Thursday issued an open letter to the presidents of China and the US, signed by 94 American CEOs, supporting a high-standard US-China Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT).

The letter calls on President Xi Jinping and President Barack Obama to underscore the importance of the BIT during Xi's upcoming state visit to the US as a way to spur the negotiations between the two countries.

"The BIT should be the top commercial focus during President Xi's visit," USCBC President John Frisbie said.

"On the eve of President Xi's state visit to the United States, we want to reiterate the importance of strong and mutually-beneficial trade and investment ties between our two countries," the letter read.

"As the two largest economies in the world, the United States and China need a positive and enduring commercial relationship, which is an essential anchor for global economic growth," it continued.

Trade between China and the US now stands at more than $600 billion in goods and services annually.

"It is because of this robust foundation that throughout the various strains on the relationship, periods of diplomatic tension, and even a severe economic crisis, the economic relationship has endured and remained steady," the letter said. "We fully believe that it is in both of our countries' interest to take the necessary steps to maintain, strengthen, and expand that relationship."

"As such, we firmly support the rapid conclusion of a meaningful and high standard Bilateral Investment Treaty between our two countries," it said.

"As we look at the range of issues on the bilateral agenda, a high-standard BIT - with clear provisions providing equal treatment to each country's investors and a short list of exceptions - is one of the key items that could make an immediate and tangible impact for both of our economies," it continued.

The letter said concluding a BIT agreement will provide "greater transparency and consistency" to our respective investment regimes.

"We believe that increased cross border investment flows will create economic growth and jobs, lending new momentum to the commercial relationship and fortifying the economic foundation already built."

Paulson Institute Chairman Henry M. Paulson, Jr, said: "A Bilateral Investment Treaty would further open China's economy to US businesses and would lead to more US job creation and give greater access to the Chinese market for American firms."

Among the signers of the letter were CEOs: Miles D. White of Abbott; Klaus Kleinfeld of Alcoa; Kenneth I. Chenault of American Express; Steve Van Andel of Amway; Tim Cook of Apple Inc; Juan R. Luciano of Archer Daniels Midland; Warren E. Buffett of Berkshire Hathaway; James Dimon of JPMorgan Chase; Henry R. Kravis of Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co; Kenneth C. Frazier of Merck & Co; Indra K. Nooyi of PepsiCo; and Doug McMillon of Wallmart.