On October 26, 2017, the Washington State China Relations Council assembled the ninth session of the policy briefing series at Davis Wright Tremaine Law Firm in Seattle. James Green, the Minister Counselor for Trade Affairs to the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) at the U.S. Embassy in China and advisor to the Ambassador on trade policy, discussed “US-China Trade Relations: View from Beijing.”
Through the course of over two decades of work in China, James Green has advised five ambassadors on trade policy and counseled numerous trade representatives, including current USTR Robert Lighthizer, who has identified China Relations as a key focus during his time in office.
The decade-long conversation regarding terms of the Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) between US and China was a major point of discussion. BIT negotiations gained momentum around 2013 but recently have been lying low in consideration of more pressing matters. Ratification of a treaty is an ambitious goal, Mr. Green pointed out, as treaties require a two-thirds senate majority to pass. He emphasized that timing and the provision of adequate context are key when discussing the Treaty with members of Congress. Mr. Green opines that it is in the Treaty’s best interest that it be temporarily sidelined, as it is preferable that dialogue continue at a deliberate pace than that the Treaty be written off hastily in this time of uncertainty.
Mr. Green shared insights on difficult policy questions such as China’s “negative list” in trade agreement negotiations, technology transfer, and access to the finance and banking industries. His insider view from being on the ground in Beijing provided a unique perspective on these issues, particularly in light of authority shifts following the 19th National Party Congress.
Mr. Green’s expert knowledge on a variety of topics involving current US-China Relations sparked a dynamic Q&A session following the presentation.
Special thanks to Davis Wright Tremaine for hosting James Green and the WSCRC for this session of the Policy Briefing Series.
Summary author: Trudy Boothman