A two day U.S.-China economic summit wrapped up on Tuesday with American officials urging Beijing to ease new restrictions on foreign businesses. A series of government investigations targeting foreign companies in China have raised protectionist alarm bells, and new regulations favoring local firms and limiting foreign technology on national security grounds have only exacerbated matters.
“Our two governments have a responsibility to foster conditions that facilitate continued and increased investment, trade, and commercial cooperation,” U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew said at the summit. “This means enacting policies that encourage healthy competition, ensuring predictability and transparency in the policy-making and regulatory process, protecting intellectual property rights, and removing discriminatory investment barriers. These policies are vital as China seeks to build on its economic progress in recent decades,” he added.
One concrete result of the summit was China raising the amount of equity foreigners could take in a number of different financial holdings, including securities. But far more liberalization of China’s economy needs to be agreed upon. Lew said that the optimal time for reaching a U.S.-China bilateral investment treaty would be before the next G20 meeting in September. Beijing has emphasized its commitment to the ongoing negotiations for that accord, so this summer will be China’s chance to prove how serious it is.
At last year’s BCLS panel on China, Clarence Tak-Chuen Kwan (Senior Partner at SinoCentury China Overseas Investment Partners) said “China will live up to its role as a global citizen.” Let’s see it.