April 22, 2021
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David Firestein, President and CEO of the Bush China Foundation, spoke to the Rotary Club of Houston to speak about the current state of the U.S.-China relationship and where bilateral relations are heading in the coming years, particularly under the new Biden Administration.
Mr. Firestein first remarked on the strain and turbulence between the U.S. and China in terms of trust and public sentiment. However, Mr. Firestein touched on the opportunities for change within the relationship due to the transition from the Trump to the Biden Administration. Within this context, he discussed elements of continuity and elements of change from the Trump Administration to the Biden Administration. Mr. Firestein posited that President Biden agrees that past approaches to China were not producing results in the U.S.’ interests and agrees the U.S. must seek greater reciprocity. However, Mr. Firestein suggests areas of divergence between the Trump and Biden Administrations includes the rhetoric around China as a competitor rather than an enemy, and other important metrics of success in U.S.-China policy.
In the question-and-answer portion of the event, Mr. Firestein addressed issues including Hong Kong, the trade deficit with China, human rights, Taiwan, and the role of the Bush China Foundation in promoting a more functional U.S.-China relationship.