What does record Chinese investment in the United States mean for Sino-American relations? What are the biggest benefits from and challenges to the U.S.-China trade relationship? These and other current issues were explored in a program featuring former Commerce Secretary Barbara H. Franklin and former U.S. Trade Representatives Carla A. Hills and Susan C. Schwab, in conversation with National Committee President Steve Orlins. Secretary Franklin, Ambassador Hills and Ambassador Schwab also reflected on U.S.-China relations during their tenures and offered their views on the present and future of trade and investment between the two countries.

Barbara H. Franklin served as the 29th Secretary of Commerce for President George H.W. Bush.  As commerce secretary, she increased American exports, with an emphasis on market-opening initiatives in China, Russia, Japan, and Mexico.  Her historic mission to China in 1992 normalized commercial relations with the country, removing the ban on ministerial contact that the United States had imposed following the 1989 Tiananmen Square events, and brought back $1 billion in signed contracts for American companies.  Trade with China grew dramatically in the following years, as did foreign investment. Secretary Franklin is currently president and CEO of Barbara Franklin Enterprises, a private consulting firm headquartered in Washington, D.C

Carla A. Hills served in the George H.W. Bush administration as the 10th United States Trade Representative.  Ambassador Hills also served in the cabinet of President Gerald R. Ford, as secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development.  Prior to this, she was an assistant attorney general in the Civil Division of the Department of Justice in the Ford administration. Ambassador Hills is currently chairman and chief executive officer of Hills & Company International Consultants, which provides advice to international firms on investment, trade, and risk assessment issues abroad, particularly in emerging market economies. 

Susan C. Schwab served in the George W. Bush administration as the 15th United States Trade Representative. During her tenure, Ambassador Schwab successfully concluded bilateral free trade agreements (FTAs).  In her trade enforcement role, Ambassador Schwab settled a two-decade long dispute with Canada over soft-wood lumber, and has launched and/or worked to resolve trade disputes with China, the European Union, and others, primarily related to market access, intellectual property, and illegal subsidies. Ambassador Schwab currently teaches at the University of Maryland.  Previously, she served as dean of the University of Maryland’s School of Public Policy, from 1995 through 2003.  She has also held the position of president and CEO of the University System of Maryland (USM) Foundation, and of USM Vice Chancellor for Advancement.