As the chief commercial advocate for U.S. businesses in policymaking, the commerce department plays a crucial role in the U.S.-China trade and economic relationship. In the 99th episode of the China of the World Podcast, Paul Haenle spoke with Penny Pritzker, the U.S. Secretary of Commerce under the Obama administration and founder and chairman of PSP Capital, to discuss how the commerce department impacts U.S. foreign policy.
The economic presence of the United States and partnerships are a pillar of U.S. commercial policy abroad, Pritzer said, and walking away from the Trans-Pacific Partnership hurt U.S. economic and trade leverage in the Asia-Pacific that would have benefited the United States and the region at large. U.S. engagement in multilateral trade agreements are as important for the United States as participation in institutions such as the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, Pritzker said. She discussed her role in reforming the U.S.-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade to facilitate conversations on how to resolve challenging commercial issues in the U.S.-China relationship, such as excess capacity and market access. Transformations brought about by automation, technology, and artificial intelligence are one of the defining issues of the 21st century, Pritzker argued, and provide opportunities for the United States and China to work together and build institutions that ensure they can adapt to the rapid developments brought about by these changes.
Paul Haenle is the director of the Carnegie–Tsinghua Center for Global Policy. Prior to joining Carnegie, he served from June 2007 to June 2009 as the director for China, Taiwan, and Mongolia Affairs on the National Security Council staffs of former presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama.
Penny Pritzker is the founder and chairman of PSP Capital. She previously served as the U.S. Secretary of Commerce under the Obama administration.