DC Discussions Put Bilateral Treaty at the Fore

China Business Conference brings together government and AmCham China leaders on big issues impacting American interests

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AmCham China's annual Washington, D.C. Outreach wrapped up April 29, concluding a series of meetings with senior political, business and academic figures. Led by AmCham China Chairman James Zimmerman, the delegation of more than 20 business leaders representing American companies in China visited senior officials from the Departments of State, Commerce and Treasury, as well as the Office of the US Trade Representative. They provided updates on China’s economic transition and reform agenda, raising concerns about how regulatory enforcement and recent rules on high-tech equipment disadvantage American companies, and pressing the case for the bilateral investment treaty (BIT).

One of the highlights of this year's outreach was the China Business Conference, the premier conference in the US for discussing the future of the US-China economic relationship, as well as the latest developments in China’s business environment and their impact on American companies. Now in its sixth year, the event was cohosted with the US Chamber of Commerce.

The conference also recognized Robert Zoellick, who formerly served as US Trade Representative and World Bank President, with the first AmCham China and US Chamber China Statesman award for his significant contributions over decades in public service and the private sector to the US's and the world's understanding of China.

Speakers included US Trade Representative Michael Froman, who discussed the importance of the US-China BIT.

“It’s all the more important that the bilateral investment treaty address not only market access but also the kinds of actions that create an uneven playing field or undermine the rules-based system, such as unfair competition by SOEs (state-owned enterprises), the discriminatory enforcement of key laws like China’s competition law and forced technology transfer or localization policies,” Froman told the conference. “For a BIT to be effective, we need to make progress on these issues as well.”

As well as Zoellick and Froman, speakers included former CIA Director General Michael Hayden, former US Ambassador to China J. Stapleton Roy, Senior Director for Asian Affairs at the National Security Council Evan Medeiros and Senior Director for International Economics at the National Security Council Rory MacFarquhar.

Graham Norris is the Senior Communications Director at AmCham China.