USCBC Statement on the Meeting of Presidents Barack Obama and Xi Jinping

BEIJING - November 12, 2014 - US-China Business Council (USCBC) President John Frisbie issued the following statement on the summit between Presidents Barack Obama and Xi Jinping in Beijing:
“The summit between Presidents Obama and Xi over the last two days shows what high-level engagement can do to move the US-China relationship forward.
“USCBC is pleased with the landmark announcement of ten-year visas for business travelers. Not only will this facilitate trade and investment flows, but it will also remove a constant, low-level irritant felt by executives in both countries. USCBC’s board of directors has included a call for reciprocal, extended-year, multiple-entry visas for business travelers in its past three priority statements submitted annually to both governments. The announcement this week meets that goal and injects a much-needed symbolic measure of trust into the bilateral relationship.
“USCBC is also pleased with President Obama and President Xi’s support of a high-standard US-China Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) and its designation as a top priority on the economic agenda. A high-standard US-China BIT will create a level playing field for American companies in China and remove investment restrictions that effectively serve as market access barriers. It would also support greater Chinese investment in the United States, producing more jobs for American workers throughout the country.
“USCBC has been a leader of the American business community in pushing for a US-China BIT as a means to provide a forward-looking framework for the commercial relationship. Over the last month, USCBC organized a letter signed by 51 American CEOs and issued a joint statement with the China Chamber of International Commerce expressing support for a high-standard BIT.
“It is important to remember that investment barriers in China are market access barriers. USCBC estimates that China is now at least a $350 billion market for the American economy—and would be more if not for investment barriers. The inability of many American industries to succeed in China has been directly related to the lack of obligations that encourage China to open up its market more fully to US participation. USCBC believes this investment agreement would address unfinished business from China’s WTO entry and positively change the trajectory of the commercial relationship.
“The breakthrough on the WTO Information Technology Agreement (ITA) expansion negotiations is also a very positive outcome. The agreement covers an array of product sectors important to the American economy. Tariff reductions will bring real benefit to exports of products ranging from the IT sector to medical devices. USCBC hopes that the US-China breakthrough will lead to a fast conclusion of the ITA expansion among all the parties.
“As this meeting between Presidents Obama and Xi clearly shows, the relationship benefits from high-level engagement. USCBC continues to support the necessity of an annual summit between the leaders of the world’s two largest economies.”
The US-China Business Council (USCBC) is a private, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization of more than 220 American companies that do business with China. For over four decades, USCBC has provided unmatched information, advisory, advocacy, and program services to its membership. Through its offices in Washington, DC; Beijing; and Shanghai, USCBC is uniquely positioned to serve its members' interests in the United States and China.