Lew: US, China trying to finish up bilateral investment treaty

Lew: US, China trying to finish up bilateral investment treaty
© Cameron Lancaster

Treasury Secretary Jack LewJacob (Jack) Joseph LewTreasury pushes back on travel criticism with data on Obama-era costs Big tech lobbying groups push Treasury to speak out on EU tax proposal Overnight Finance: Hatch announces retirement from Senate | What you can expect from new tax code | Five ways finance laws could change in 2018 | Peter Thiel bets big on bitcoin MORE said on Thursday that a bilateral investment treaty with China isn’t ready yet, but the Obama administration wants to wrap up a deal this year.

The United States and China have spent years trying to forge an agreement on the investment treaty with the aim of completing a deal before President Obama leaves office.

But Lew said there will be no compromising standards to meet that target.

"It fundamentally has to be a high-quality agreement that offers access in both directions in a meaningful way if it’s going to come to closure," Lew said at the Peterson Institute for International Economics.

If a deal can be reached, the Senate would have to sign off on the treaty. 

"We have made the case that this is the best time to do it," Lew said. "We are going to continue through the duration of our tenure to try to get it queued up so it is as close to done, if not done, as possible," he said.

"We are making progress, but not there yet, and we obviously are looking at a calendar that gets shorter and shorter, so the time to really put a shoulder into it is now."