Talking Trade with Investment Strategist Andy Rothman of California firm Matthews Asia

In the latest episode of “Talking Trade,” former diplomat Andy Rothman of the firm Matthews Asia highlights the benefits of U.S. engagement with China and says an initially bumpy transition from strict COVID-19 protocols will improve next year.

Rothman urges continued engagement, including international investment and trade, as well as academic exchanges, partnering on innovations in science and medicine and more. 

“All of that engagement I think over the last several decades has been really, really positive for most Americans,” he said, citing positive Wisconsin trade numbers with China. “And I think it’s also been really positive for most Chinese people as well. On the business side, it’s really worked.” 

While he conceded China doesn’t follow all of the rules laid out by the World Trade Organization, he said “they follow enough of the rules” to facilitate growth in the U.S.-China trade relationship. 

He noted U.S. exports of goods to China have risen by 600 percent since China joined the WTO. That’s compared to a 100 percent increase in exports to other countries. 

“Our agricultural exports — important for Wisconsin — are up 1,600 percent to China,” he said. “It’s now our largest market in the world for agricultural goods.” 

Rothman also weighs in on China relaxing its “zero-COVID” policy and possible implications for U.S. industries and the pandemic response. He notes the country has dropped restrictions that were seen as disruptive to daily life and normal economic activity. 

“In the end — certainly by the spring or early summer in the coming year — this is going to be good news for everybody, for Chinese people and for us as well,” he said. 

Chinese health officials announced yesterday the country would begin limiting its reporting of COVID-19 data as cases there are on the rise. 

Watch the latest episode here: 

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