A BIT with China Is the Wrong Solution to the Wrong Problem

November 12, 2013

The United States is currently negotiating a bilateral investment treaty (BIT) with China. When most people think of a “bit,” they think of something that goes in a horse’s mouth, or maybe a small piece of something. Unfortunately, this kind of BIT can be much more harmful than either of those things. A BIT is a treaty between two countries in which each country promises to give rights and privileges—but impose no obligations—to investors from the other country. Usually these investors are large corporations. If you wonder why the United States would negotiate a treaty that grants rights and privileges to foreign corporations (rights and privileges home-grown corporations don’t have, by the way), you’re not alone.

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