(AP) China's commerce minister says Beijing and Washington can soon start substantive negotiations on a bilateral investment treaty.
Gao Hucheng was speaking to reporters Thursday on the sidelines of U.S.-China security and economic talks in Washington.
U.S. businesses have been pushing for such a treaty, hoping it would facilitate more protections and market access for American investors in China.
Gao would not specify when negotiations would begin, other than to say "as soon as possible."
While Chinese trade in the first half of the year has been unstable, particularly in June when both imports and exports declined, Gao said he remains confident about commercial relations between the world's two largest economies.
He said there is still growth in U.S.-China trade and investment, although it is slow.