U.S.-China Relations

A Generational Challenge

U.S.-China relations in modern times have been defined by both competition and cooperation. Even as the two countries have become more interdependent economically, China’s expanding economy, growing military capabilities, and regional and global ambitions have led to tensions with the U.S.-led liberal international order. Heightening these geopolitical concerns is the escalating trade war, as each country imposes tariffs on the other. This briefing on September 18, 2018, explored the fundamental challenges confronting U.S.-China relations in the political, economic, and security domains and offered a longer-term perspective for U.S. policymakers to consider as they manage the relationship in the decades to come. The briefing was presented by the National Bureau of Asian Research and US-China Business Council in conjunction with the Congressional U.S.-China Working Group.


Erin Ennis, Senior Vice President, US-China Business Council

Roy Kamphausen, Senior Vice President for Research, National Bureau of Asian Research

Benjamin Shobert, Senior Associate for International Health, National Bureau of Asian Research
Dan Aum, Director of Washington, D.C. Office, The National Bureau of Asian Research

The bipartisan House U.S.-China Working Group is co-chaired by Congressmen Rick Larsen (WA-2) and Darin LaHood (IL-18)

Panelist Bios

Erin Ennis has been Senior Vice President of the US-China Business Council since February 2015, after serving as Vice President since 2005. In that position, she directs USCBC’s government affairs and advocacy work for member companies and oversees USCBC’s Business Advisory Services. Prior to joining USCBC, Ms. Ennis worked at Kissinger McLarty Associates, the international consulting firm headed by former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and former White House Chief of Staff Thomas “Mack” McLarty.

At the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative from 1996 to 2000, Ms. Ennis first worked in Congressional Affairs on Asia issues, including annual approvals of China’s most favored nation status and the ill-fated 1997 push to renew presidential “fast track” negotiating authority. Beginning in 1998, she was assistant to Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Richard Fisher, who led U.S. trade negotiations and enforcement with Asia, the Americas, and on intellectual property rights.

Roy D. Kamphausen is Senior Vice President for Research at The National Bureau of Asian Research (NBR). He provides executive leadership to NBR’s policy research agenda on security, politics, energy, economics, and trade. Mr. Kamphausen directs NBR’s engagement with the administration, U.S. Congress, and foreign embassies in Washington, D.C., and integrates the work of Admiral Jonathan Greenert, NBR’s Shali Chair in National Security Studies, with ongoing programs and new initiatives. In April 2018, Mr. Kamphausen was appointed by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to be a Commissioner on the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission.

Prior to joining NBR, Mr. Kamphausen served as a career U.S. Army officer. As a China foreign area officer, his career included assignments as China policy director in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, China strategist for the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and a military attaché at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing.

Benjamin Shobert is Senior Associate for International Health at NBR. He advises and contributes to NBR research programs on international health in Asia.

Mr. Shobert is also the Director of Strategy for health business strategy at Microsoft where he leads strategy engagements with national governments, providers, and the biotech community. Prior to Microsoft, he was Founder and Managing Director of Seattle-based Rubicon Strategy Group, a boutique consulting firm that specializes in market access work in China’s healthcare, life science, and senior care industries. In 2013, Rubicon completed the first syndicated research report on Myanmar’s healthcare system. For six years, Mr. Shobert wrote a column for the Asia Times on U.S.-China trade and economic policy with a particular focus on how relations between the two countries were impacted after the 2008 financial crisis. His latest book, Blaming China: It Might Feel Good but It Won’t Fix America’s Economy explores the future of U.S.-China economic and political relations.

Dan Aum (moderator) is Director of NBR’s Washington, D.C. office. In this capacity, Mr. Aum leads NBR’s engagement with the U.S. Congress and the media. He works closely with NBR’s research group leaders and NBR’s executive team to develop and implement nonpartisan outreach strategies that integrate congressional needs and perspectives.

Mr. Aum comes to NBR from Capitol Hill, where he managed a portfolio of thematic and regional issues related to foreign policy, international law, and human rights on the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission. Previously, at Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, Mr. Aum was on a strategic litigation team that brought cases before international and regional bodies, and led policy initiatives that involved regular engagement with government bodies and the media. He holds a J.D. from the George Washington University Law School and a B.A. in Philosophy from Baylor University.