SAN FRANCISCO - Bank-America Corp. vice chairman Lewis Coleman has called for negotiations on a Pacific Rim investment treaty.
The accord, he said, should ensure that businesses in one participating country have the right to expand in another, and that their investments are treated the same as those of locally owned businesses.
It should also provide for the free transfer of earnings between countries and prohibit percentage ownership limits, Mr. Coleman said in a speech to the Pacific Economic Cooperation Council.
U.S. Has Taken Lead
The United States has generally provided right-of-establishment and national treatment for foreign investors, but some of its trading partners have been less open, Mr. Coleman said.
He suggested that the United States ask for assurances that its partners not just open up technically, but also give U.S. investors complete freedom to exercise their rights in practice.
Mr. Coleman said a free-trade agreement for Pacific Rim countries could be achieved only after many years and after public support gets stronger.
"I am proposing today that we take the first step," he said. "We must begin a concerted effort to establish a Pacific Rim investment treaty."
Protecting Export Markets
The BankAmerica executive said the United States should be investing more in Asia to increase and protect its export markets.
He warned that the formation of three large trading regions - in North America, Europe, and Asia - may pose "a threat to global peace and prosperity inherent in these regional trade blocs, especially if they become convenient vehicles for exclusionary policies."