China and the United States are bracing for mounting challenges before completing their bilateral investment treaty, although the two sides reportedly took a pragmatic view toward the pact during theirrecent two-day closed-door meeting.
The 11th Sino-US Round of Negotiations for the bilateral investment treaty ended Wednesday in Shanghai to figure out procedures for the future talks.
"This round of negotiation is aimed at setting down the modalities, or the procedures and methods, for advancing the negotiations," said Wang Xinkui, president of the Shanghai WTO Affairs Consultation Center.
But he warned that the real difficulties of the negotiations have yet to come, and the biggest challenge will lie in the schedules of concessions, or each side's specific commitments.
"The next round of negotiations will not go very quickly or easily because the talks must proceed in accordance with China's reforms athome," he added.
Li Chenggang,director-general of the Department of Treaty and Law of the Ministry of Commerce, and also head of the Chinese negotiation delegation, said the closed-door negotiations on Tuesday "went smoothly, but hat doesn't mean that no disagreements exist between the two sides".
Wednesday's talks, he said, focused on the details of the modalities. Li noted that both sides have agreed to adopt an active, pragmatic and collaborative attitude toward the negotiations.
"We will balance the protection of investors' rights with governmental supervision to reach a high-level pact facilitating investment in both countries and benefiting each country's economic development," Li said.
Commerce Minister Gao Hucheng said negotiating the investment pact "will happen every two months in China and the US by turns, and the pact, once established, will mark a milestone in China's reform of investment mechanisms", State broadcaster China Central Television reported on Wednesday.
China and the US began discussion of a bilateral investment treaty in 2008, but the talks did not progress far, with China's insistence on a long list of protections for some domestic sectors.