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Washington and Beijing began formal negotiations towards a bilateral investment treaty (BIT) in June 2008. A year later, the highly sensitive talks were halted until July 2013. The US is interested in getting Chinese restrictions on foreign ownership in about 100 sectors — from soybean oil and automobiles to life insurance and other financial services — lifted for US companies which want to expand their market presence there. The Chinese government is interested in getting more security for highly-scrutinised Chinese investments in the US and its massive holdings of US sovereign debt ($1.3 trillion).

In late 2013, China agreed to initiate talks on a possible BIT with the European Union as well.

July 2014

China, US likely to conclude BIT talks in two years, says official
China and the United States are likely to conclude bilateral investment treaty (BIT) negotiations within two years, China’s Vice Finance Minister Zhu Guangyao said Wednesday.
China, US discuss investment pact
The 15th round of talks on a bilateral investment treaty between China and the United States began Monday in Beijing.
China’s surging investment in US heralds new multinational era
Chinese investments in the United States now exceed American investments in China in an historic shift that may see the emergence of joint Sino-US multinationals, but one that is also fraught with geopolitical risks, said analysts.
Chinese investment in US falls, but big deals in the pipeline
Chinese investments in the United States fell year-on-year in the first half, but pending deals and the expected completion of the US-China Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) mean the figure for the year as a whole may rise substantially.
China-US: Timetable laid out for investment treaty talks
The two-day high-level dialogue between China and the United States has led to a timetable for talks on a bilateral investment treaty
Lew: US-China investment deal not nearing completion
US Treasury Secretary Jack Lew said Tuesday that the United States and China aren’t prepared to wrap up work on an investment agreement during high-level meetings next week.
Investment treaty with China a top priority, US ambassador says
The US’s incoming ambassador to China said Thursday that hammering out a new investment treaty between the two countries would be among his priorities.
New negotiations begin on Chinese-US investment treaty
Chinese and US representatives are beginning another round of negotiations here today in this capital on a bilateral investment treaty, said the Commerce Ministry.
China, US investment talks enter ‘substantive period’
The 11th round of Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) talks between the world’s two largest economies, China and the US, wrapped up in Shanghai on Wednesday.
Entrepreneurs, former officials call for resuming China-US investment treaty talks
Chinese and American business leaders and former officials on Tuesday called for the China-US talks on signing a bilateral trade and investment treaty to be resumed.