Deborah T. Cooper
Director, Administration
Executive Assistant to the President

[email protected]

Sino-U.S. Trade and China’s Belt and Road Initiative

On June 15, 2017, a briefing on Sino-U.S. Trade and China’s Belt and Road Initiative, hosted by NBR and the US-China Business Council (USCBC) in conjunction with the Congressional U.S.-China Working Group.

During Chinese President Xi Jinping’s meeting with President Donald Trump in April, the two leaders agreed to a 100-day plan to address trade issues, including U.S. trade deficits and access to Chinese markets. Meanwhile, China concluded its Belt and Road Forum, gathering heads of states and ministers for a 2-day conference which showcased Xi’s vision—the Belt and Road Initiative—to shape Eurasia according to China’s worldview and characteristics. With the 100-day timeframe drawing to a close, what lies ahead for U.S.-China trade discussions? How does the Belt and Road Initiative influence the trade and geopolitical strategies for the two countries and the world? This briefing provided congressional staffers with an understanding of changes to the trade relationship as well as details on the economic and strategic drivers of the Belt and Road Initiative and offered recommendations on how Congress might respond to these changes.



    Anna Ashton, Director, US-China Business Council

    Ann-Marie Padgett, International Advocacy Manager, Caterpillar Inc.

    Nadège Rolland, Senior Fellow for Political and Security Affairs, The National Bureau of Asian Research


    Dan Aum, Director, Government and Media Relations, The National Bureau of Asian Research

Panelist Bios

Anna Ashton serves as the Director of Business Advisory Services at the US-China Business Council. Ms. Ashton began her China career as an intelligence officer for the Department of Defense, where she briefed the Vice President, the Secretary of Defense and top military officials on strategic China issues.

Following her time at the Defense Department, Ms. Ashton worked for her home state of Arkansas to develop a strategy for recruiting Chinese investment, organizing and managing visits by Chinese trade delegations and identifying a Chinese consultant to represent Arkansas in Beijing. From 2008 through 2012, she worked in the International Division of the US Chamber of Commerce, primarily focused on China trade and investment issues. She then worked as an economic and trade analyst at the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission while pursuing a J.D. at Georgetown University.

After graduating from Georgetown, Ms. Ashton spent time working on international trade cases at Perkins Coie LLP. Ms. Ashton began her China studies in 1997 in order to pursue an interest in Chinese literature. In addition to her J.D. from Georgetown Law, she holds a BA in Chinese Studies from Wellesley University, and an MA in East Asian Languages and Civilizations from the University of Colorado at Boulder. She and her family live in Arlington, Virginia.

Ann-Marie Padgett is responsible for collaborating with Caterpillar business units with significant sales opportunity in Asia-particularly China, India and ASEAN to understand and prioritize issues involving either the transactional obstacles or the market development opportunities. In addition, she develops and implements advocacy strategies to utilize U.S. government or non-governmental organizations and foreign governments to promote transactions/projects, resolve identified obstacles or otherwise promote market development.

Before joining Caterpillar Inc., Ann-Marie served as the Global Public Policy Manager for the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM), the U.S.-based international trade group representing the business interests of companies which manufactures and markets equipment and services used worldwide for the general construction, agricultural, road building, mining, energy, forestry and utilities industries.

Prior to joining AEM, Ann-Marie was an International Trade Specialist at the U.S. Department of Commerce in the Office of Chinese Economic Area where she ensures access to the Chinese market for American companies and workers so they can compete on a level playing field. Her portfolio included Standards and Technical Barriers to Trade, Consumer Goods, Textiles and U.S. trade with Hong Kong and Macau.

Ann-Marie received a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Chinese from Middlebury College and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Hawaii, Manoa. She is also a graduate of The Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) Hopkins-Nanjing Center.

Nadège Rolland is Senior Fellow for Political and Security Affairs at NBR, where she directs NBR’s new projects that bring in European perspectives and interests, including projects in the area of “new trilateralism.” Her most recent book, China’s Eurasian Century? Political and Strategic Implications of the Belt and Road Initiative, was published by NBR in May.

Prior to joining NBR, Ms. Rolland served as senior adviser to the French Ministry of Defense and was responsible for analyzing diplomatic, military, and domestic political developments across the region.

From 2008 to 2014 Ms. Rolland served as Desk Officer for China and Adviser on Northeast Asia in the Ministry of Defense’s Directorate for Strategic Affairs. From 2005 to 2008 Ms. Rolland lived and worked in Singapore, first as a graduate student and then as research analyst in the China Program at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies.

In June 2007 Ms. Rolland received a Master of Science in Strategic Studies from the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore. She receiving the UOB Gold Medal Award for the most outstanding student in her class, writing her dissertation on China’s naval ambitions and their implications for regional security. She also holds a BA on contemporary Asia and a master of science in Chinese language with distinction from the National Institute of Oriental Languages and Civilizations in Paris.

Dan Aum is Director, Government and Media Relations, at NBR. 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 JD from the George Washington University Law School and a BA in Philosophy from Baylor University.