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Indo-Pacific Digital Developments: The Role of Trade Policy

Presentations by a delegation of U.S. trade policy experts, followed by a moderated discussion with New Zealand counterparts and a reception

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Date and time:

21 May, 5:15 PM - 7:30 PM

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Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland


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In partnership with the NZUS Council, the American Chamber of Commerce in New Zealand, and the University of Auckland Business School, the National Bureau of Asian Research (NBR) is pleased to present an evening of robust discussion on Indo-Pacific trade policy developments, with a focus on digital trade and supply chain issues in emerging trade frameworks such as the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF). The event will feature presentations by two members of a U.S. trade policy delegation, including a former Deputy U.S. Trade Representative, followed by a moderated discussion and a networking reception.

NBR is grateful to the United States Mission New Zealand for their generous support of this delegation and this event.

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Ambassador Robert Holleyman

Former Deputy U.S. Trade Representative; NBR Advisor

Ambassador Robert Holleyman was president and CEO of Crowell & Moring International and a partner in the law firm Crowell & Moring’s International Trade and Privacy and Security groups. At C&M International, he advised clients on trade and investment issues including market access, global trade negotiations, privacy and cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, cross-border data flows, and renewable energy. He is currently a member of the Board of Advisors of the National Bureau of Asian Research and the Advisory Council of the Center for Democracy and Technology.


From 2014-2017, Ambassador Holleyman served as Deputy United States Trade Representative (USTR). He was responsible for U.S. trade and investment relations in Asia, including the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum (APEC), China, and India. He was also responsible for global trade policy in the areas of services, investment, intellectual property, and innovation. Ambassador Holleyman led USTR’s focus on the digital economy and U.S. negotiating priorities around digital trade, and represented USTR on the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. He was previously appointed by President Obama to serve as a member of the U.S. Advisory Committee on Trade Policy and Negotiations. In earlier public service, he served as a senior counsel and legislative director in the U.S. Senate and as a judicial clerk in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana. He was CEO of a global software industry association for over two decades establishing offices in Singapore, Beijing, Tokyo, London and Brussels in addition to its headquarters in Washington, DC.   

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Kristin Vekasi

University of Maine

Kristin Vekasi is the Director of the International Affairs Program at the University of Maine. She is also an Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science and School of Policy and International Affairs. She is a Nonresident Fellow at the National Bureau of Asian Research. Her research focuses on international political economy, trade and foreign direct investment, and geopolitical risk management of supply chains. Vekasi specializes in Northeast Asia, and has spent years conducting research in China, Japan, and South Korea. Her book Risk Management Strategies of Japanese Companies in China explores how Japanese multinational corporations mitigate political risk in China. Her current research examines how Japan, China, and the United States cooperate and compete to manage complex supply chains in Southeast Asia, focusing on raw materials and industries essential for the transition to green energy.


Vekasi received her PhD in political science from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Prior to joining the faculty at University of Maine, she taught at New College of Florida, was a visiting Research Fellow at the University of Tokyo, and a Fulbright Fellow at Tohoku University. She is a member of the Mansfield Foundation’s US-Japan Network for the Future, and a 2019 National Asia Research Program Fellow with the National Bureau of Asian Research. In 2021-2022, she was an academic associate at the Harvard University US-Japan Program.


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