Charles Freeman is a nonresident senior adviser for economic and trade affairs at CSIS. Previously, he held the CSIS Freeman Chair in China Studies. A second-generation “China hand,” he has lived and worked between Asia and the United States his entire life. Prior to joining CSIS, he served as assistant U.S. trade representative (USTR) for China affairs and was the United States’ chief China trade negotiator, playing a primary role in shaping overall trade policy with respect to China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macao, and Mongolia. During his tenure as assistant USTR, he oversaw U.S. efforts to integrate China into the global trading architecture of the World Trade Organization. Earlier in his government career, he served as legislative counsel for international affairs in the Senate.
Outside of government, as a lawyer and business adviser, he has counseled corporations and financial institutions on strategic planning, government relations, market access, mergers and acquisitions, corporate communication, and political and economic risk management in China. He currently is a senior adviser to McLarty Associates, the global strategic advisory firm based in Washington, D.C., and serves on the boards of directors of the National Committee of U.S.-China Relations and the Harding Loevner Funds mutual fund complex.
Freeman received his J.D. from Boston University School of Law, where he was an editor of the Law Review and graduated with honors. He earned a B.A. from Tufts University in Asian studies, concentrating in economics, also with honors. He also studied Chinese economic policymaking at Fudan University in Shanghai and Mandarin Chinese at the Taipei Language Institute, where he received highest honors in language fluency exams.