Ten policy items to be aware of during President Xi Jinping’s state visit to the U.S.
1. The New Model of Major Country Relationship
The concept dates back to 2013 when President Xi Jinping met President Barack Obama at the informal Sunnylands summit. However, given differing interests, both sides still need to build common ground to advance what could be the defining framework for future bilateral ties.
2. The Sino-U.S. BIT
The Bilateral Investment Treaty between China and the U.S. is aimed at setting up the rules of the road for foreign investment in each other’s countries. After seven years of talks, negotiations on the agreement have now entered the stage where the two sides are looking to settle “negative lists” swapped in June 2015.
3. Increasing FDI
Rising labor costs in China and a shift from investment-driven growth have been worrying American investors who remain keen on tapping into China’s consumption potential. Given that, looking at ways to expand FDI is likely to be a priority for both countries. In fact, a round-table meeting between Chinese and American entrepreneurs is reportedly on the agenda during the visit.
4. New global financial order
The establishment of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and the New Development Bank has signaled the evolution of the global financial order. Despite some concerns in the U.S., China has said that it isn’t looking to replace the existing global financial order. Rather, its goal is to make sure that the financing needs of emerging economies are met. Discussions on these new institutions along with the recent depreciation of the Yuan are likely to be a key part of the Xi-Obama dialogue in the U.S.
5. Cyber security
The issue of cyber security has fast grown to become an important component of recent Sino-U.S. dialogues, with there being constant friction and concerns about espionage on both sides. However, prior to Xi’s visit, China and the U.S. managed to reach “important consensus on combating cybercrimes” during a visit by Meng Jianzhu, head of the Commission for Political and Legal Affairs of the CPC Central Committee, to the U.S. as the president’s special envoy.
6. Climate change and energy
In November 2014, China and the U.S. agreed to a landmark deal on curbing emissions. The deal provided a boost to global talks on a comprehensive agreement on greenhouse gases. With the Paris Climate Summit set for December, the upcoming meeting between Xi and Obama becomes all the more critical, particularly in tackling difficult issues like common but differentiated responsibility. Meanwhile, it is also expected that the two sides will further enhance cooperation in the field of green energy, aiding the environment and creating new economic opportunities.
7. The Belt and Road Initiative
The Belt and the Road Initiative is a flagship program launched by the Chinese government to boost infrastructure, connectivity and development and revive the ancient Silk Road and Maritime Silk Route connecting Asia, Africa and Europe. Although U.S. investors have so far been cautious in taking part in the initiative, the meeting between Xi and Obama could address some of the concerns and result in greater participation from American firms.
Across different forums, China and the U.S. have pledged to combat the scourge of corruption. In this effort, China has sought American cooperation in hunting down corrupt Chinese officials who have fled to the U.S. The efforts hit a stumbling block recently after reports in the U.S. media expressed concern over Chinese law enforcement officials operating in the U.S. It is expected that the two sides will be addressing the issue to arrive at an agreement on future action against corrupt officials.
9. South China Sea disputes
The disputes in the South China Sea region continue to remain a sticking point in Sino-U.S. ties, which are likely to figure in the Xi-Obama talks. China has often reiterated that the disputes there are between China and the relevant countries in the region, with the U.S. having no role. Speaking to CCTV News recently, Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi clarified that the disputes would be handled peacefully and based on agreed-upon mechanisms. The U.S., meanwhile, has raised concerns over Chinese construction in the region, which China says is lawful and being carried out within Chinese sovereign territory.
10. U.N. Assembly
2015 marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of the United Nations. During his visit to the U.S., Xi will also address the UN General Assembly, his first address to the body.