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China-U.S. S&ED useful to move forward bilateral agenda: experts

The just concluded fifth round of U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue (S&ED) can help to move forward the bilateral agenda in a positive way, U.S. experts said on Monday.

"I think the meetings were useful," Matthew Goodman, who holds the William E. Simon Chair in Political Economy at the U.S. think tank Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), told Xinhua in a phone interview.

This was the first opportunity of the new chairmen on both sides - Chinese Vice Premiere Wang Yang, State Councilor Yang Jiechi, U.S. Secretary of Treasury Jacob Lew and Secretary of State John Kerry, to "have had a chance to meet the group and talk about the agenda in the S&ED and to get to know each other, which is the very important part of the dialogue," said Goodman.

INVESTMENT TREATY TALKS

Goodman said the most concrete outcome under the economic track of the latest round of S&ED was the significant progress and new political commitment in bilateral investment treaty (BIT) talks between Washington and Beijing.

After nine rounds of technical discussions, the two sides have agreed to enter into substantive negotiations of BIT.

"They agreed to expand scope of the negotiations to include, you know in principle, all the sectors except those on the 'negative list.' That's a good approach," said Goodman, adding that all aspects of investment also include "pre-establishment" as well as regulatory treatment.

"It would be valuable to the world and to the two countries if there was a good BIT. But this is just the beginning. It will be a difficult process," Derek Scissors, senior research fellow at The Heritage Foundation told Xinhua in an interview.

"China must initiate reforms in concrete terms...and the U.S. must decide its priorities in the BIT and not ask for too much," he added.

Scissors believed the China-U.S. BIT could not possibly go ahead of either the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations or even the U.S.-EU trade talks as the Obama administration does not have infinite resources.

APEC MEETING

Goodman, who was White House coordinator for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) and the East Asia Summit (EAS) forums during U.S. President Barack Obama's first term, said it was also significant that the United States and China are committed to strengthen economic coordination in the 2014 APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting hosted by China during the two-day S&ED meetings.

"It's a great opportunity for the U.S. and China to work together to advance the trade and investment liberalization and facilitation agenda, which is mutually beneficial and also helps the region very much," he said.

"I think China in the past has been a very excellent host of the APEC meeting," noted Goodman, adding that the 2001 APEC meeting, held in China's metropolitan of Shanghai only a few weeks after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, was a very useful and productive meeting.

"So I have high expectations for a good APEC meeting next year under the Chinese leadership," said Goodman.

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