James Sasser

James Sasser

Former Tennessee Senator, Chairman of the U.S. Senate Budget Committee and Ambassador of the United States to the People’s Republic of China

Speaker Categories: Former Heads of State | Global Economy & Emerging Markets | Headliners | Headliners | Political Leadership | Patriotism | International Business | International Affairs | Law | Law | Asia

Travels From: DC, United States.

Speaker Fee Range: Call for Fee*

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James Sasser Bio
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Former United States Ambassador to the People's Republic of China and Chairman of Senate Budget Committee

Jim Sasser has spent a quarter-century in public life, as a Senator from the state of Tennessee and as Ambassador of the United States to the People's Republic of China.During the almost four years Ambassador Sasser was in Beijing, he played a pivotal role in the strengthening of Sino-U.S. relations developing close working relationships with President Jiang Zemin and Premier Zhu Rongji and the next generation of Chinese leaders.

U.S. Ambassador to China

While in Beijing, Sasser worked tirelessly to improve market access and opportunities for U.S companies. In Sasser, American investors found "a man able to understand intuitively what drives policy in Washington as well as in Beijing, able to communicate effectively between the senior leaders in both capitols," according to the Beijing American Chamber of Commerce.

Summing up Jim Sasser's tenure as Ambassador to China, the Department of State wrote "[Ambassador Sasser] has played a prominent role in forging a dramatic improvement in the U.S.-Chinese relationship. He is held in very high esteem by the host government (China) and thus has ready access to its top leadership. This was demonstrated rather dramatically when he was invited to have dinner at the home of the president (Jiang Zemin) before he departed for the summit in the United States. This was an unprecedented event for an ambassador in Beijing."

U.S. Senator

Sasser served as United States Senator from Tennessee for eighteen years (1977-1995). During that time he chaired the Senate Budget Committee (1989-1995), as well as Chairing the Military Construction Appropriation Subcommittee, and the International Finance Subcommittee of the Banking Committee. As Chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, he initiated fiscal reform which set limits on government spending. 

"I have never known an ambassador who has done a better or more passionate job on Sino-US relation than Ambassador Sasser." Henry Kissinger

Media Contributions

Sasser has provided commentary to the BBC, Bloomberg, PBS, among others and appeared on CBS, NBC, ABC, FOX, and CNN.

Speaking Platform

Jim Sasser brings a very unique perspective to the speaking platform because of the enormous respect Chinese leaders have for him and the friendships he was able to forge during the almost four years he was Ambassador. These relationships enable him to have direct access to the current leadership and from that, a unique insight into U.S./China relations.  Also, because he served as Chairman of the U.S. Senate Budget Committee, he has a keen understanding of our current economic problems, nationally and internationally, especially now that Democratic leadership is in charge.

America’s changing politics in a changing world –is America’s domestic politics crippling US foreign policy and international commerce?

In today’s shrinking world the United States competes for influence while American companies compete for markets, but is our current political system built to win the battle of ideas or the fight for global consumers in the 21st Century. (Answer – No, our political system is damaged but not broken; US remains last best hope and economic/military superpower)

Stalemate and sequester – does Congressional gridlock spell the end of the Washington Consensus?

With the “rise of the rest,” especially the dynamic economies of China and Singapore, is the economic growth model founded on democracy, free trade, multilateral regimes birthed at Bretton Woods being replaced by the Beijing Consensus? (Answer – No, other than a few African despots, who really wants to adopt Chinese model)

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