The U.S., China and the Future of APEC


Breakfast Available from 8:00AM

For the first time in its 30-year history, the annual gathering of APEC’s Leaders concluded without a joint communiqué. This outcome was a manifestation of growing trade tensions between the United States and China, the Asia-Pacific’s two most powerful economies, and these tensions have only worsened since the summit itself. These frictions were sharply underscored by competing messages from Chinese President Xi Jinping and U.S. Vice President Mike Pence in their back-to-back addresses at the APEC CEO Summit in Port Moresby.

With prospects for a resolution to the ongoing U.S.-China trade dispute still murky at best, what are the implications for APEC? Can the group continue to advance initiatives to improve the environment for cross-border trade stronger economic integration that is at the heart of APEC? How will APEC’s upcoming host economies (Chile-2019, Malaysia-2020, New Zealand-2021) — all avid champions of free trade and the global trading system — navigate the U.S. and China’s divergent approaches to trade and economic policy and maintain the relevance of the organization?

Join Asia Society Policy Institute Vice President Wendy Cutler for a discussion with business leaders and current and former government officials from the United States and the APEC region to consider these questions and other pressing issues. This event is in partnership with the National Center for APEC.


Wendy Cutler (moderator) joined the Asia Society Policy Institute (ASPI) as vice president in November 2015. She also serves as the managing director of the Washington D.C. Office. She leads initiatives that address challenges related to trade and investment, as well as women’s empowerment in Asia. She joined ASPI following an illustrious career of nearly three decades as a diplomat and negotiator in the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR). Most recently she served as Acting Deputy U.S. Trade Representative, working on a range of U.S. trade negotiations and initiatives in the Asia-Pacific region. In that capacity she was responsible for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement, including the bilateral negotiations with Japan. She also was the Chief Negotiator to the U.S.-Korea (Korus) Free Trade Agreement. Cutler received her master’s degree from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, and her bachelor’s degree from the George Washington University. 

Ambassador Matt Matthews

Ambassador Matthew J. Matthews is the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands at the U.S. State Department, and is concurrently the U.S. Ambassador to APEC. Prior to his current position, Amb. Matthews served a distinguished career as a member of the Senior Foreign Service, including as the Foreign Policy Advisor to Admiral Locklear of the U.S. Pacific Command and the Deputy Principal Officer at the U.S. Consulate in Hong Kong. He has also held positions in various missions overseas, including as the Counselor for Economic Affairs at the U.S. Embassy in Kuala Lampur, Malaysia; the U.S. Embassy in Canberra, Australia; the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, PRC; and the Economic Office at the American Institute in Taiwan. He also served on postings in Pakistan and Brazil. Amb. Matthews received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Oregon, and a master’s degree from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.

Phil O'Reilley

Phil O’Reilly is managing director of Iron Duke Partners, a Wellington-based Public Policy Advisory Firm. He is a global business leader and advocate, serving as the chair of the Board of Business at OECD, based in Paris, which is the representative of businesses in OECD member states, and is one of New Zealand’s three appointed representatives to the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC). Until recently, he was a member of the Governing Body of the International Labor Organization based in Geneva. He is involved in the work of the B20 - advising G20 leaders. He has acted in a governance or advisory capacity to a number of New Zealand and overseas organizations in areas as diverse as trade, sustainability, diversity, pay equity, manufacturing, tertiary education, child poverty and the future of work. He was previously Chief Executive of BusinessNZ, New Zealand’s leading business advocacy group, representing thousands of businesses of all sizes. He is an officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit (ONZM).

Monica Whaley

Monica Hardy Whaley is the President of the National Center for APEC and its subsidiary organization, Pacific Summit Resources; she has been with NCAPEC since its launch 25 years ago and has led the organization since 2002. She is an alternate U.S. member of the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC), member of the U.S. Committee for the Pacific Economic Cooperation Council (PECC), a member of the Pacific Council on International Policy and chair of the US-APEC Business Coalition. Monica also serves on the Advisory Board of Seattle University’s Albers School of Business Department of Economics. Prior to the National Center for APEC, she served for five years each at the Washington Council on International Trade and in the Trade Division at the Canadian Consulate General in Seattle. Monica holds bachelor’s degrees in Political Science and French from the University of Santa Clara, and studied in Paris at the Institut d'Etudes Politiques (Sciences Pô).



Matias Ignacio Pinto Pimentel is the trade commissioner in the Embassy of Chile in Washington, D.C. Prior to joining the embassy, he served as a legal advisor in the Green Climate Fund (GCF) readiness program within the Ministry of Finance of the Chilean government. From 2014 to 2016, he served as an attorney in the Energy, Trade and Sustainable Development Department within the Ministry of Foreign Affair’s Economic Directorate (DIRECON), representing Chile’s interests in different forums including APEC, UNFCCC, the WTO, the ICAO, and the IMO, among others, as well as negotiating in the EU-Chile association agreement, the Paris Agreement, and was involved with negotiations for the TPP. He has a law degree from the School of Law at the Concepcion University, where he graduated with honors. He also holds an LLM in environmental law from the University of Chile.

Event Details

Fri 11 Jan 2019
8:30 - 10 a.m.

Asia Society
725 Park Avenue
New York, NY 10021

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