In a roundtable discussion at the annual US-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade meeting, co-hosted today by the Paulson Institute in Chicago, the one thing that both US and Chinese investors consistently called for was a level playing field, both in the Chinese and the US markets. What’s the smartest way to achieve that goal? A Bilateral Investment Treaty. Here, according to “BIT by BIT,” a Paulson Institute paper, are five reasons a BIT would be good for the United States:
- It would help level the playing field for US firms competing with Chinese companies and prohibit China from using regulations to favor state-owned enterprises.
- It would prevent state-owned enterprises from using government authority to advance their own commercial interests.
- It would end the occasional practice of requiring US firms to transfer their technology to local Chinese companies as a condition for approving their investments or taking advantage of local incentives.
- By helping US companies invest in China, it would create—not eliminate—jobs in America. (Research has found that expansion abroad by US multinationals tends to preserve and support American jobs.)
- A BIT would help stabilize US-China relations if and when the going gets rough in other areas.
“I can’t overemphasize the importance of the BIT,” said Institute Chairman Hank Paulson. “We need stakeholders who are supporting the US-China relationship, which has become more complicated. A BIT will give business something to rally around and be for.”