China and the United States are nearing the end of negotiations over a key agreement aimed at increasing trade between the two nations, former Chinese minister of commerce Chen Deming reportedly said Wednesday. The Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) has been in the works for several years now, and, last September, the two countries reaffirmed that finalizing the accord was a “top economic priority.”
“After years of negotiations, most of the core issues have been resolved, and the negative list is the only thing left to be settled,” Chen, speaking on the sidelines of a conference in Boao, China, reportedly said.
The negative list spells out the industries and sectors in which foreigners are barred from investing. Even the Shanghai Free Trade Zone, seen as a testing ground for future economic and social reforms, includes a lengthy list of off-limit industries, ranging from agriculture to automobile manufacturing.