October 21, 2021 @ 7:30pm Central Time

This event, co-hosted with the Asia Society, will bring together experts on U.S. and Chinese economic relations for an informative discussion on current trends and future expectations regarding tariffs and supply chain issues. Tariffs and supply chain concerns are an increasingly critical factor in U.S.-China relations that not only impact businesses but have direct consequences for the daily lives of individuals in both nations. During the previous administration, the United States imposed tariffs on imports from China which resulted in retaliatory tariffs imposed by China on U.S. exports. Despite the achievement of a phase one trade deal and a campaign pledge to eliminate the tariffs from President Biden, these heightened barriers to trade continue in full force today, with no immediate indication of going away. Further, the onset of COVID-19 has accelerated recent diversification trends in the global supply chain away from a China-centric focus, even though China remains a top sourcing location for the United States. What is the outlook for the Trump-era tariffs between the U.S. and China? How are global supply chains shifting and what are the implications for Americans?


John L. Kent is the director of Supply Chain China Initiatives and a clinical professor in the Department of Supply Chain Management in the Sam M. Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas. In addition to teaching supply chain courses in Fayetteville, his responsibilities include multiple supply chain research projects and cooperative academic programs throughout China. 

Dr. Kent received his PhD in logistics and transportation from The University of Tennessee, an MBA in international management from the University of Dallas and a BS in computer science from Henderson State University. He has over 10 years of industry experience in various modes of transportation. 

Dr. Kent’s industry experience included the development and implementation of information systems at Burlington Northern Motor Carriers, CSX Transportation Intermodal and Sea-Land Service. While at Sea-Land, he was responsible for the implementation of inland transportation systems in North America, Europe, Japan and China. He recently led a volunteer temporary China-to-USA personal protective equipment supply chain project which procured more than $1 million dollars of supplies for three hospital systems. 

Dr. Kent’s first trip to China was in 1992 with Sea-Land Service, and his most recent trip was in November 2019 to attend a kick-off meeting for phase II of a Supply Chain Food Safety project funded by the Walmart Foundation. 

Dr. Kent’s research has been published in the Journal of Business Logistics, Transportation Journal and International Journal of Physical Distribution and Logistics Management

Liza Mark started the Shanghai office of Haynes and Boone, LLP, an America Law 100 law firm, in 2013 and serves as its chief representative and administrative partner. She has practiced as a U.S. lawyer in Hong Kong and in Shanghai for over 22 years and is also a qualified Hong Kong lawyer. Having brokered multiple cross-border transactions, Ms. Mark has the unique ability to fulcrum between doing deals in Asia and in the United States, helping to “translate” the differences in basic assumptions and paradigms.    

Ms. Mark has concentrated her practice in private equity investments, securities and cross-border mergers and acquisitions. She is experienced in private placements of debt and equity securities, Asian in-bound equity offerings, Rule 144A offerings, medium-term note programs, special purchase acquisition company acquisitions, private investments in public equity (PIPEs) and Hong Kong initial public offerings, with deep expertise in the clean technology, energy, transportation and logistics and environmental, social and governance impact industries. Ms. Mark’s experience in counseling many U.S. businesses in their commercial endeavors in China and Chinese businesses in their investments in the United States also allows her unique insights into what each side wants and values.   

Ms. Mark started and led multiple associations and organizations to further gender and race-based diversity in the management of various organizations, since she believes that a diverse viewpoint leads to better decisions. 


David J. Firestein is the inaugural president and CEO of the George H. W. Bush Foundation for U.S.-China Relations.  Previously, Firestein was the founding executive director of The University of Texas at Austin’s China Public Policy Center and a clinical professor at UT’s Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs.  Before moving to UT, he served as senior vice president and Perot Fellow at the EastWest Institute, where he led the Institute’s Track 2 diplomacy work in the areas of U.S.-China relations, East Asian security and U.S.-Russia relations.  From 1992–2010, Firestein was a decorated career U.S. diplomat, specializing primarily in U.S.-China relations.  

Firestein serves on over a dozen U.S. nonprofit boards of directors and advisors.  Among other roles, he is a member of the board of directors of the Texas Association of Business, a member of the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition’s Texas Advisory Committee, and a member of the Dean’s Advisory Council of the LBJ School of Public Affairs.  

A native and current resident of Austin, Texas, he holds degrees from Georgetown University and The University of Texas at Austin.