Chinese Telecom Investment in the U.S.: Weighing Economic Benefits and Security Risks
About This Event

Please note revised event date.

Post-Event Summary
Recent attempts by Chinese telecom giant Huawei to enter the U.S. market have met with resistance from the Obama administration, despite the administration's acceptance of other Chinese companies. At an event on Thursday at AEI, experts on China discussed the implications of a report written by AEI's Claude Barfield on the trade-offs involved in determining policies for Huawei.

During the panel conversation, Barfield argued in favor of further transparency from both Huawei and the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS). He proposed that Huawei become a stock-exchange-listed company and that the committee's coverage be extended to contracts beyond mergers and acquisitions.

William Plummer, vice president of Huawei's external relations, gave some background on the company, including its growth and performance since its founding in 1987. He also explained Huawei's financing to address critics' concerns about its sources.

Theodore Moran of Georgetown University called for more transparency from the company's board of directors, adding that it should be vigilant about cybersecurity issues.

Derek Scissors of the Heritage Foundation pointed out that large private firms in the telecom industry are explicitly controlled by the Chinese government. He echoed other panelists' views that Chinese firms are not entirely "profit-seeking" given their overspending and relatively cheap access to borrowing, which ultimately affect their competiveness in the U.S. Because of potential security risks and costs, he recommended a full review of the nature of the operations of all Chinese telecom companies operating in the U.S.

Mark Stokes of the Project 2049 Institute explained that though Huawei doesn't have an important role in China's central information security agency, the firm's entrance in the U.S. market could pose a cybersecurity threat.
-- Paul Tedga

Event Description
The Obama administration is going all out to attract Chinese companies to invest in the U.S., but at the same time, it has rebuffed the efforts of the Chinese telecoms giant Huawei to obtain contracts with major U.S. Internet providers or to take over U.S. telecom companies. This seeming contradiction underscores the challenges in balancing the benefits of foreign direct investment against potential cybersecurity risks. Recently, AEI scholar Claude Barfield completed a report on the trade-offs involved in determining policies for Huawei. At this event, a panel of experts will analyze the issues from both an economic and a security perspective.


9:45 AM

10:00 AM
Claude Barfield, AEI
Theodore H. Moran, Georgetown University
William Plummer, Huawei
Derek Scissors, Heritage Foundation
Mark Stokes, Project 2049 Institute
Timothy J. Keeler, Mayer Brown

12:00 PM

Event Contact Information

For more information, please contact Steffanie Hawkins at [email protected], 202.419.5212.

Media Contact Information

For media inquiries, please contact Véronique Rodman at [email protected], 202.862.4871.

Speaker Biographies

Claude Barfield, a former consultant to the office of the U.S. Trade Representative, researches international trade policy (including trade policy in China and East Asia), the World Trade Organization (WTO), intellectual property and science and technology policy. His many books include “Free Trade, Sovereignty, Democracy: The Future of the World Trade Organization” (AEI Press, 2001), in which he identifies challenges to the WTO and to the future of trade liberalization.

Timothy J. Keeler is a partner in the Government and Global Trade Group at Mayer Brown, having joined the company in 2009. Before joining Mayer Brown, Mr. Keeler served in a variety of senior positions in the U.S. government for almost 12 years. Most recently, he was the chief of staff in the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) from 2006 to 2009, where he oversaw implementation of U.S. policy, strategy and negotiations involving all aspects of international trade and investment matters. He worked on a number of key issues, including climate change and trade, U.S. - China relations, World Trade Organization negotiations and litigation, free trade agreement negotiations and implementation and Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States decisions. Before working for USTR, Mr. Keeler spent more than five years at the Treasury Department. He joined the Office of Legislative Affairs in 2001 as a deputy to the assistant secretary for International Issues and later managed the Office of Legislative Affairs, where he assisted on all policy and personnel issues. Mr. Keeler also served on the Presidential Transition Team (2000–2001) as a policy coordinator on export control and trade remedy policy, handling the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Export Administration (now called the Bureau of Industry and Security) and the International Trade Commission. Mr. Keeler has been awarded the USTR Distinguished Service Award, the Treasury Distinguished Service Award, and the Treasury Secretary’s Honor Award twice. He is also an adjunct professor at the Georgetown University School of Law, a member of the board of directors of the Washington International Trade Foundation and a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He has spoken at a variety of conferences on international trade and economic issues.

Theodore H. Moran
holds the Marcus Wallenberg Chair in International Business and Finance at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, where he teaches and conducts research at the intersection of international economics, business, foreign affairs and public policy. Mr. Moran is founder of the Landegger Program in International Business Diplomacy and serves as its director, providing courses on international business and government relations and negotiations to some 600 undergraduate and graduate students each year. His most recent books include “Harnessing Foreign Direct Investment for Development: Policies for Developed and Developing Countries” (Center for Global Development, 2006); “Does Foreign Direct Investment Promote Development?” (Peterson Institute for International Economics, 2005), which he edited alongside Magnus Blomstrom and Edward Graham; “International Political Risk Management: Exploring New Frontiers” (MIGA, the World Bank Group, 2005); “Beyond Sweatshops: Foreign Direct Investment, Globalization, and Developing Countries” (Brookings Institution, 2002); and “Foreign Investment and Development” (Peterson Institute for International Economics, 1998). From 1993-1994, Mr. Moran served as senior adviser for economics on the Policy Planning Staff of the Department of State, where he was responsible for trade, finance, technology, energy and environmental issues. Mr. Moran is also consultant to the United Nations, diverse governments in Asia and Latin America and the international business and financial communities. In 2000, he was appointed counselor to the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency of the World Bank Group. In 2002, he was named chairman of the Committee on Monitoring International Labor Standards of the National Academy of Sciences, and in 2007, he was appointed director of National Intelligence Advisory Panel on Foreign Investment in the United States.

William Plummer is a 15-year wireless industry veteran who joined Huawei’s Washington, D.C. office in June 2010 as vice president of external relations. Immediately before joining Huwei, Mr. Plummer was president and CEO of OnQueue Technologies. Before this, he spent 12 years in senior management positions at Nokia. His last position with Nokia was that of vice president of Sales and Go to Market in the Americas. Before his most recent position at Nokia, Mr. Plummer worked in Multimedia Business Group Sales and Channel Management, External Affairs and Corporate Strategy in North America and the greater Americas. Over his Nokia tenure, Mr. Plummer acted as the regional corporate spokesman on Nokia vision, strategy and business-critical matters such as standardization, spectrum and mobile software and services. He began his Nokia career in 1997 as director of Government and Industry Affairs where he acted as Nokia’s lead representative to the U.S. government coordinated Nokia’s interaction with various prominent associations and developed strategy for and managed Nokia’s Americas Standardization department. Before joining Nokia, he served as a U. S. foreign service officer with positions in the Office of the Under Secretary for Business Affairs and the Office of Multilateral Trade and took part in the U.S. diplomatic mission to Ecuador. Before joining the State Department, he worked as a financial services executive.

Derek Scissors focuses his studies on the economies of China and India as senior research fellow for economics at the Heritage Foundation’s Asian Studies Center. He also analyzes and comments on broader economic trends in Asia, as well as related challenges facing the United States. Mr. Scissors has testified before the U.S. House of Representative on rare earth elements, the U.S. Senate on exchange rate disputes between America and China, and the U.S.- China Economic and Security Commission on Chinese investment in America. His analyses and commentary have appeared in Foreign Affairs, National Review, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal’s Asia edition and Indian news outlets such as The Hindu. Mr. Scissors’s work has also been featured in The Financial Times, The Washington Post and The Economic Times of India and by news agencies such as the Associated Press, Dow Jones, Reuters and Xinhua. Television audiences know Mr. Scissors as a guest commentator on Bloomberg, CNBC, CNN, Fox and Fox Business, MSNBC and China’s CCTV, among other major cable and broadcast outlets. His appearances on radio include Fox Radio, National Public Radio and Public Radio International. He also is adjunct professor at George Washington University, where he teaches a course on the Chinese economy.

Mark Stokes is the executive director of the Project 2049 Institute. Previously, he was the founder and president of Quantum Pacific Enterprises, an international consulting firm, and vice president and Taiwan country manager for Raytheon International. He has served as executive vice president of Laifu Trading Company, a subsidiary of the Rehfeldt Group; as a senior associate at the Center for Strategic and International Studies; and as a member of the Board of Governors of the American Chamber of Commerce in Taiwan. Mr. Stokes served in the U.S. Air Force for 20 years, and was team chief and senior country director for the People’s Republic of China, Taiwan and Mongolia in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs.

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