Skip to main content

International Issues Update 2023/35

By September 22, 2023No Comments


  • Reporting on the implementation of the Inflation Reduction Act’s clean energy tax credits  
  • Executing public communications strategies on clients’ environmental sustainability achievements
  • Planning UN Climate Summit engagements and assessing likely outcomes
  • Further analyzing State of the EU and election implications

These are just examples of client service. How can we help you? Email any IBC counsellor for assistance or consult our issues list to find the expert you’re looking for.


In case you missed it:

  • September 21: Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Trade Policy and Negotiations Tony Fernandes, International trade policy and negotiations affecting international business

Upcoming WIBC Events:

  • October 5: Canadian Embassy Economic Minister John Layton, U.S.-Canada relations and Canada’s economic and trade priorities

REMINDER: Our client portal, WIBC calendar, and other resources are available at

WIBC discussions are open to WIBC members only. Not a member? Contact Alix for membership inquiries.


United Nations

The 78th United Nations General Assembly opened General Debate on September 19 in New York. The annual meeting has featured discussions around the war in Ukraine, health issues, food security, climate change, ocean conservation, plastics pollution, labor rights, and democratic backsliding. Debate will continue through September 26. 

President Biden’s remarks focused on global stability, updating multilateral institutions, and sustainable development.  The President helped launch the 32-country Partnership for Atlantic Cooperation, which will focus on “economic development to environmental protection to science and technology.” He also used the occasion to meet on the sidelines with leaders from the five Central Asian states, which per a C5+1 Joint Statement he stressed “unwavering commitment to uphold the principles of the United Nations Charter… [and] respect for the independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity of all states” in a seeming reference to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. 

President Zelenskyy of Ukraine delivered remarks emphasizing the global impacts of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. He then traveled to Washington to meet with Congressional leadership to emphasize Ukraine’s ongoing need for support.  The Biden administration announced an additional military aid package for Ukraine on September 21. 

Leaders also met for summits on the sustainable development goals and climate, a high level dialogue on development finance, and high level dialogues on health issues (tuberculosis, universal coverage, and pandemic preparedness).  On the margins of the UNGA, Under Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment Jose W. Fernandez launched the End Plastic Pollution International Collaborative (EPPIC), a public-private partnership with $15 million in initial U.S. funding to catalyze products to address the plastics pollution crisis. 

Contact: Pat Sheehy, Ethan Knecht

European Union

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen gave her annual State of the European Union speech on September 13. The speech touched upon the EU policy agenda for the last months of the Commission’s term, with green and digital policy taking center stage. She also outlined her views on EU immigration policy, Ukraine and EU enlargement. The most notable announcement was the launch of an anti-dumping investigation against Chinese electric vehicles, which is likely to spark significant debate between EU governments and could have significant impacts on global trade dynamics. Overall, the speech confirmed that the political balance in Europe is shifting to the right ahead of the upcoming European election campaign.  The competitiveness of European industry and wider economic concerns are likely to feature highly in the upcoming election campaign, together with immigration policy. 

Contact: Lorenzo Torti 


The United States announced September 18 that it reached a deal for the release of five Americans held hostage in Iran. The Administration released $6 billion in frozen Iranian oil revenue and dismissed charges against five Iranians accused of violating U.S. sanctions in exchange. The United States also announced the establishment of a humanitarian channel in Qatar (HC) to facilitate humanitarian trade with Iran. The HC does not lift sanctions on Iran but is intended to provide an avenue for already-permissible activities like trade in food, agricultural goods, medicine, and medical devices. The channel will be under “stringent due diligence measures” to avoid misuse.

Contact: Pat Sheehy

Latin America

On the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, President Biden met with his Brazilian President Lula da Silva to launch the Partnership for Workers’ Rights. The initiative will advance labor issues in its respective countries and provide a platform for collaboration in multilateral fora like the ILO. The two leaders also discussed a democratic transition in Venezuela, instability in Haiti, and the effect of Russia’s war in Ukraine on energy and food security. 

The Biden Administration was also active on Cuba issues this week, as the Treasury Department reportedly prepares to reduce restrictions for Cuban entrepreneurs. More specifically, the new rules will allow Cuban entrepreneurs to “establish and remotely access U.S. bank accounts to conduct authorized transactions” and to use “internet services such as videoconferencing, e-learning, automated translation, I.T. managing services and cloud-based services.”

Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Jayme White met with his Canadian and Mexican counterparts in advance of the USMCA Dialogue on SMEs. In his meeting with Under Secretary Encinas of Mexico, he stressed U.S. concerns related to steel, energy, telecommunications, and medical devices. The meeting comes just a week after the U.S. Ambassador to Mexico said in an interview that the U.S.-Mexico energy dispute merited a formal arbitration panel to resolve the dispute.

Contact: Ethan Knecht

Quick takes

  • The fifth round of Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) negotiations concluded September 16 in Bangkok with negotiators citing progress on the trade, clean economy and fair economy pillars ahead of a targeted deadline of the November APEC Summit.  
  • The House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Trade Subcommittee held a September 20 hearing on potential reforms to the Generalized Systems of Preferences (GSP) program, with private sector witnesses assessing possible changes to the tariff program which provides duty-free benefits to developing countries.  The GSP program has been expired since December 2020, but the subcommittee’s leadership is aiming to reach a bipartisan consensus to pass renewal legislation.  
  • Azerbaijan launched a military action September 19 to remove Armenian forces from the Nagorno-Karabakh region, raising the prospect of a broader “unthawing” of Russian sponsored post-Soviet “frozen conflicts.”  Russia has historically supported Armenia but declined to intervene. 
  • The Department of Agriculture opened the application period for a $65 million pilot program for H-2A agricultural guest workers to expand participation by Central American workers and help agricultural employees who meet certain labor standards with recruiting and retention costs. 
  • California Governor Gavin Newsom said he would sign legislation that would require businesses, including those privately held, to report on emissions if they operate in California and have at least $1 billion in revenue. In addition to their direct emissions, those businesses would have to account for emissions by suppliers and customers, so-called “Scope 3” emissions.


Federal Register Notices

Newly Introduced Legislation


  • H.R.5670 (Wasserman Schultz, D-FL) – Would require certain actions relating to the protection of free, fair, and transparent elections in Venezuela.
  • H.R.5614 (Wenstrup, R-OH) – Would extend duty-free treatment provided with respect to imports from Haiti under the Caribbean Basin Economic Recovery Act.
  • H.R.5613 (Waltz, R-FL) – Would require a review of whether individuals or entities subject to sanctions should also be subject to the imposition of other sanctions.
  • H.R.5565 (Fitzgerald, R-WI) – Would require a report regarding the scope of efforts by the PRC and CCP to utilize the Belt and Road Initiative to undermine the United States-led international world order and a detailed strategy regarding how USG intends to counter such Initiative.
  • H.R.5557 (Himes, D-CT) – Would impose sanctions against certain persons engaged in the proliferation or use of foreign commercial spyware.
  • H.R.5556 (Curtis, R-UT) – Would make exclusive the authority of the Federal Government to regulate the labeling of products made in the United States and introduced in interstate or foreign commerce.
  • H.R.5532 (Connolly, D-VA) – Would impose sanctions with respect to North Korea’s support for Russia’s illegal war in Ukraine.
  • H.R.5524 (Garcia, D-TX) – Would amend the start date of the Foreign Affiliates Sharing pilot program on sharing with foreign branches, subsidiaries and affiliates.


  • S.2900 (Menendez, D-NJ) – Would protect and provide humanitarian assistance to Armenians in Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh impacted by actions taken by the Government of Azerbaijan.
  • S.2894 (Ricketts, R-NE) – Would amend the State Department Basic Authorities Act of 1956 to require certain congressional notification prior to entering into, renewing, or extending a science and technology agreement with the People’s Republic of China.
  • S.2848 (Rubio, R-FL) – Would block the property of Russian state-owned entities.
  • S.2847 (Rubio, R-FL)- Would prohibit the importation of agricultural products, raw materials, and food from the Russian Federation if the Russian Federation prohibits the importation of such products, materials, and food from the United States.

Upcoming Congressional Hearings





  • Brian Burton, Senior Adviser to the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Industrial Base Policy
  • General Charles Brown, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
  • Matthew Ferraro, DHS Senior Counselor for Cybersecurity and Emerging Technology to the Secretary
  • Megan Crowe, Director of ITA’s Office of Consumer Goods

Want more scoops on personnel moves? Find the most recent Who’s Who here.


Looking farther ahead? Find the most recent full international events calendar here.

Any issue areas you would like highlighted? Have a specific monitoring request? Reach out to us.