China--US BIT Negotiations and the Future of Investment Treaty Regime: A Grand Bilateral Bargain with Multilateral Implications
China and the United States declared to launch the Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) negotiations at the conclusion of the fourth China--US Strategic Economic Dialogue (SED) on June 18, 2008. This BIT negotiation revives a failed BIT program of 20 years ago. It can be expected that China--US BIT negotiations will be concluded successfully because China's approach to investment treaties has recently been Americanized to large degree and because China--US SED can also provide institutional support. Nevertheless, China should seriously evaluate what it will benefit from and will lose from this BIT program from multiple angles, not limited to investment regime only. What is more important, at the historical moment when structural deficiencies have made the investment treaty regime at a crossroad, China and the United States as great powers have a mandate to enhance to reconstruct and make it more balanced, responsive, and accountable through their BIT program. For this purpose, three fundamental dimensions of Special and Differentiated (S&D) treatment, conduct of investors, and sustainable development should be deliberately addressed. Oxford University Press 2009, all rights reserved, Oxford University Press.
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