Robert E. Rubin is co-chairman of the Council on Foreign Relations and an expert in economic policy. From 1995 to 1999, as treasury secretary under U.S. President Bill Clinton, he met with Chinese leadership in Beijing to foster mutual understanding between the two trading nations, negotiated with China for its entry into the World Trade Organization (WTO), and acted to stem the Asian financial crisis.
Since its start in 2009, Rubin has been an active delegate in the China-U.S. Track Two High-Level Dialogue, an annual meeting between seasoned American and Chinese diplomats aimed at discussing issues that are important to healthy progress in Sino-U.S. relations. In this interview, Rubin shares his views on the Trump presidency, including Asia-Pacific trade policy, managing relations with China, and more.
The Diplomat: In 2013, you wrote about economic tensions between the United States and China, with the discourse between the two “consisting largely of a dialogue of the deaf.” Drawing from your recent visits to China, what are both parties mostly concerned about with respect to one another?