Negotiations have recently been launched between the US and each of the EU and China with a view to entering into trade and investment treaties.
On 12 July 2013, the US and China agreed to re-launch negotiations for a bilateral investment treaty (BIT). The two States first entered into negotiations in 2008, however they failed to reach agreement on a number of issues, including in particular on restrictions on investment in China into certain protected sectors. The deadlock now appears to have been broken, after China recently agreed that the BIT could apply in principle to all sectors of the economy, unless specifically excluded. A USChina BIT is seen in some quarters as an important step to dismantling barriers to investment in certain industry sectors in China.
Parallel negotiations were also launched in July 2013 between the US and the EU to conclude an EU-US Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). If successful, the TTIP is expected to cover an ambitious range of issues, including tariff and non-tariff barriers to trade, investment, government procurement and liberalisation of trade in services. According to data from the European Commission Directorate-General for Trade, the EU and US economies currently account for approximately half of the world’s GDP and a third of the world’s trade flows. Further negotiations are scheduled to take place before the end of this year.