Event Details

Competition between the United States and China is one of the great forces shaping the world's post-Covid future, alongside Russia's invasion of Ukraine and growing economic headwinds near and far. Is cooperation on some issues still possible when increasingly heated rhetoric threatens to deepen distrust? Is sustained tension the way forward for these two superpowers? Or are there other options or models for bilateral engagement? Join us in conversation with U.S. Ambassador to China Nicholas Burns to consider the many factors influencing U.S.-China relations.

Ambassador Burns is no longer able to join us in person due to covid restrictions, but will participate in the conversation virtually. We are delighted to be joined instead by other senior members of the Embassy Country Team, including senior representatives from the Economic and Commercial Sections, USTR, and Treasury.

Please note that this event is limited to senior-level executives and per invitation only. If you are not an existing member of The Economist Intelligence Corporate Network, but would like to learn how you can attend our events, please contact us.


5:00 PM - 5:30 PM
Registration and Network
5:30 PM - 6:30 PM
Live Stream Fireside Chat and Q & A
6:30 PM - 8:00 PM
Cocktail Party


  • Ambassador Nicholas Burns (Ambassador of the United States of America to the People’s Republic of China)

    Ambassador Nicholas Burns

    Ambassador of the United States of America to the People’s Republic of China

    Nicholas Burns is Ambassador of the United States of America to the People’s Republic of China(PRC). Nominated by President Biden, he was confirmed by the U.S. Senate in December 2021.

    As Ambassador, he will lead a team of experienced, dedicated, and diverse public servants from forty-seven U.S. government agencies and sub-agencies at the U.S. Mission in China, including at the Embassy in Beijing and at the American Consulates in Shanghai, Guangzhou, Wuhan, and Shenyang. He will oversee the Mission’s interaction with the PRC on the full range of political, security, economic, commercial, consular, and many other issues that shape this critical relationship.

    Ambassador Burns is on a public service leave from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government where he was Goodman Professor of the Practice of Diplomacy and International Relations until 2021 and founded the school’s Future of Diplomacy Project.

    He has had a long career in American diplomacy serving six Presidents and nine Secretaries of State. Most recently, he was a member of the Foreign Policy Advisory Board of Secretary of State John Kerry (2014-2017).

    While serving at the Department of State as a career Foreign Service Officer, he was Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs (2005-2008) where he led numerous negotiations, including on the U.S.-India Civil Nuclear Deal, a long-term military assistance agreement with Israel, and on Iran’s nuclear program.

    As Ambassador to NATO (2001-2005), he led U.S. efforts in Brussels on 9/11 when the Alliance invoked Article 5 of the NATO Treaty for the first time in its history. He managed the combined State-Defense Department U.S. Mission when NATO accepted seven new members in Eastern Europe and embarked on missions in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    He was Ambassador to Greece (1997-2001) and prior to that, served as State Department Spokesperson (1995-1997).

    He worked on the National Security Council at the White House (1990-1995) where he was Special Assistant to President Clinton and Senior Director for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia Affairs and Director for Soviet Affairs for President George H.W. Bush during the collapse of the USSR.

    Ambassador Burns began his Foreign Service career in the Middle East. He worked at the American Consulate General in Jerusalem (1985-1987) where he coordinated U.S. economic assistance to Palestinians on the West Bank, at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo, Egypt (1983-85) and, as an intern, at the U.S. Embassy in Nouakchott, Mauritania (1980).

    He first visited China in 1988 accompanying Secretary of State George Shultz and then President George H.W. Bush in 1989. He subsequently made visits to China with Secretaries Warren Christopher and Madeleine Albright as Spokesperson, including during the handover of Hong Kong from the United Kingdom to the PRC in 1997.

    As Under Secretary of State, he worked with the PRC government on a diverse range of issues, including Afghanistan, North Korea, United Nations sanctions against Iran and U.S. policy in the Indo-Pacific. As a private citizen, he also created and managed an Aspen Strategy Group policy dialogue with the PRC government’s Central Party School.

    Burns co-authored in 2020 with Ambassadors Marc Grossman and Marcie Ries a major study on the future of American diplomacy. They called for fundamental reforms to strengthen the Foreign and Civil Service and to renew our country’s commitment to diplomacy.

    view more
  • Dr Qian Liu (Managing Director of The Economist Group Greater China)

    Dr Qian Liu

    Managing Director of The Economist Group Greater China

    Liu Qian is Managing Director of The Economist Group in greater China. As an economist and business executive, Qian understands both China and the West, and has shown exceptional ability to bridge the two in the age of China rising and new globalization.

    Previously, Qian headed the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Global Economics Unit and China research, and chaired internal review with the European Securities and Market Authority. As an economist, Qian has deep knowledge of Chinese economy, publishes in highly regarded academic journals and business including Oxford Economic Papers, Project Syndicate, The Economist World in, and is frequently interviewed by BBC, CNBC, NPR, etc.

    Qian is also a prominent advocate for gender equality, and introduces cutting edge global economic research on gender, and promotes intelligent public debates reaching millions of people. She also serves as Vice Chair for the British Chamber of Commerce in China. Outstanding Women Award in China by Caixin. She was named Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum in 2019.

    Qian was born and grew up in China, earned her PhD in economics from Uppsala University, Sweden, and was previously a visiting scholar at UC Berkeley, and received business executive leadership training from Stanford University and attended Global Leadership and Public Policy program at Harvard University.

    view more
  • Mattie Bekink (China Director of The Economist Intelligence Corporate Network)

    Mattie Bekink

    China Director of The Economist Intelligence Corporate Network

    Mattie Bekink is responsible for the Economist Intelligence Corporate Network’s China strategy, including programme development and client engagement across China.

    Ms Bekink has extensive experience in the public, private and policy sectors. Prior to joining The Economist Group, she was the Executive Director of the Fulbright Commission in the Netherlands. She also ran an eponymous consulting business, advising businesses, universities and non-profit organisations on China policy, strategy, public affairs, and CSR. Ms Bekink practiced law at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP, has worked with the US-Asia Law Initiative at NYU Law School and the American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative China Program, and served in the legal department at General Motors China.

    Ms Bekink has a BA in International Relations from Stanford University and a JD from the Georgetown University Law Center.

    view more
  • Robert Xiao (Director, Beijing of The Economist Intelligence Corporate  Network)

    Robert Xiao

    Director, Beijing of The Economist Intelligence Corporate Network

    Robert Xiao is the Director of the Economist Intelligence Corporate Network (EICN) in Beijing. He is responsible for engaging with top executives in the region and providing insights on economic and policy trends to support their business development in the Chinese market.

    Mr Xiao was previously a PhD Supervisor and Deputy Director of the Impact Finance Hub at Deakin Business School before joining EICN. His research mainly focused on the fields of corporate social responsibility, corporate governance, and economic and financial policy analysis related to the Chinese market. He has authored multiple publications in Financial Times Top 50 Journals and been awarded major research grants jointly by the Australia Academy of Social Sciences and Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. He also has more than a decade of experience teaching business courses including in Master of Business Administration (MBA), Master of Finance, and Bachelor of Commerce programmes at leading universities.

    Mr Xiao has a Ph.D. in Finance and B.Com. (Hons) in Accounting and Finance from Monash University.

    view more