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International Issues Update 2023/38

By October 13, 2023No Comments


  • Analyzing final EPA PFAS reporting rule
  • Preparing for U.S. stakeholder session on global plastic treaty negotiations
  • Briefing a visiting senior executive on the outlook for the U.S.-China relationship 

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:

  • October 11: State Department Expert Senior Advisor to the Special Presidential Climate Envoy Elliot Diringer, U.S. COP28 priorities
  • October 11: Senior U.S. Trade Representative to the European Union Rufino Hurtado and Matthias Jørgensen, Head of Unit, USA and Canada, DG Trade, European Commission, Drivers, dynamics, and developments in transatlantic trade

Upcoming WIBC Events:

  • October 17: House Select Committee on China Professional Staff Member Jake Parker, Economic engagement and trade with China
  • October 25 Virtual Meeting: Senior U.S. Trade Representative for Mexico Carlos Romero, U.S. trade policy with Mexico

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.


Israel and the Middle East

President Biden made public remarks October 12 condemning terrorist attacks by Hamas on Israel and expressing an ongoing commitment to Israel’s security. The United States has moved multiple military assets into the region to support regional stability and Secretary of State Antony Blinken traveled to Israel to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.  Secretary Blinken noted that the United States is “pursuing intensive diplomacy throughout the region to prevent the conflict from spreading.”  

The conflict threatens broader U.S. policy aimed at normalizing Israeli relations with Saudi Arabia, and some U.S. and global leaders have called for confrontation with Iran, which has historically backed Hamas. Hamas launched an attack on southern Israel on October 7, resulting in the death of over a thousand Israelis. Israel has begun retaliatory strikes on targets throughout Gaza and ordered the evacuation of 1.1 million persons from the northern half of Gaza within 24 hours in advance of a broader offensive expected to begin this weekend. United Nations officials have cautioned against the risk of significant civilian harm and requested more time to coordinate an orderly evacuation. Hamas, meanwhile, has ordered civilians to remain in place and called for a day of global jihad on October 13. 

Contact: Pat Sheehy


Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) led a congressional delegation to China, the first since the COVID-19 pandemic, over the week of October 9.  The bipartisan delegation also included Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Michael Crapo (R-ID), in addition to Senators Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), John Kennedy (R-LA), and Jon Ossoff (D-GA). 

In the meeting with President Xi, the delegation raised U.S. opposition to the “Chinese government’s forced technology transfers, theft of intellectual property, required joint ventures, and intimidation of U.S. businesses operating in China” and reported to ask President Xi to “open up the Chinese market to U.S. companies, including from the semiconductor, financial services, and aerospace industries.” Senator Schumer also reported success in compelling China to strengthen its original statement on the Israel-Palestine conflict and reissue a new statement condemning the targeting of civilians. 

This visit is part of a series of official meetings to reduce U.S. – China tensions. The next high-level engagement will happen next week when Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi travels to Washington as part of an effort to prepare for the expected meeting between presidents Xi and Biden on the sidelines of November’s APEC summit. 

Contact: Chris Benscher, Ethan Knecht


As the standoff continues to choose a new Speaker of the House, various pieces of legislation remain stalled.  House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-LA), who had been chosen by the Republican caucus as its Speaker nominee on October 11, withdrew from consideration on October 12 after failing to garner the necessary support from 217 members.  Republicans will now consider Congressman Jim Jordan (R-OH) who may face the same problem. As pressure mounts to pass legislation in support of Israel, Congress is likely to remain paralyzed while there is no clear choice of candidate who could become Speaker. 

Congress needs to pass appropriations legislation by November 17 to prevent a government shutdown.  Key pieces of legislation affected by the impasse over the Speaker include Energy-Water, Interior-Environment, and Transportation-HUD spending bills, all of which have been put on hold. The White House has threatened to veto the House’s version of Energy-Water, State-Foreign Operations and Homeland Security appropriation bills. These factors increase the likelihood Congress will have to pass another continuing resolution to keep the government funded pending agreement on 2024 appropriations. Depending on the state of the House leadership, this may be another temporary extension.

Other high priority legislation is also affected. The farm bill expired on September 30 and, while most aspects of the bill have funding that extends until December 31, 2023, the most affected programs so far are among operational delivery of nutrition, conservation, and other agricultural programs. Farm programs would revert to subsidy levels set in the 1940s after January 1, 2024. The domino effect on the House Speaker impasse could also impact consideration of the National Defense Authorization (NDAA) bill and the short term Federal Aviation Authorization bill (both of which expire December 31), as well as permitting reform legislation.

Contact: Chris Benscher

Quick takes

  • Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Lawrence Wong of Singapore led a delegation to the United States to participate in the launch of a U.S.-Singapore Critical and Emerging Technology (CET) Dialogue and meet with senior U.S. counterparts, including National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan and Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adyemo
  • A new NGO report,  by the Center for Advanced Defense Studies (C4ADS), accuses hundreds of western companies of links to Xinjiang-origin gold.  The report alleges that supply chains across sectors may be tainted, as firms maintain relationships with Chinese suppliers linked to the region, while acknowledging that full details remain “unclear due to the multiple levels of suppliers between refineries and end users.”  
  • The World Bank and the IMF held their annual meetings in Morocco this week, where Secretary Yellen called for a “cultural change” at the World Bank to better mobilize private sector capital while also praising ongoing reform efforts. The IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva suggested a quota system reform to direct more funds to lower income countries, while the head of the World Bank joined Georgieva in a statement on the “Marrakech Principles for Global Cooperation” centered on reinvigorating inclusive and sustainable growth.


Federal Register Notices

Newly Introduced Legislation


  • H.R.5907 (Schiff, D-CA) – Would criminalize transnational repression.
  • H.R.5912 (Waltz, R-FL) – Would continue in effect certain Executive orders imposing sanctions with respect to Iran, to prevent the waiver of certain sanctions imposed by the United States with respect to Iran until the Government of Iran ceases to attempt to assassinate United States officials, other United States citizens, and Iranian nationals residing in the United States.
  • H.R.5921 (Huizenga, R-MI) – Would prohibit the Secretary of the Treasury from authorizing certain transactions by a United States financial institution in connection with Iran, to prevent the International Monetary Fund from providing financial assistance to Iran, to codify prohibitions on Export-Import Bank financing for the Government of Iran, and for other purposes.
  • H.R.5923 (Lawler, R-NY) – Would impose restrictions on correspondent and payable-through accounts in the United States with respect to Chinese financial institutions that conduct transactions involving the purchase of petroleum or petroleum products from Iran.
  • H.R.5925 (McCormick, R-GA) – Would authorize the seizure of the property of certain sanctioned individuals for purposes of covering expenses relating to the Ukraine-Russia conflict.
  • H.R.5926 (Moolenaar, R-MI) – Would require the review by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States of greenfield investments by the People’s Republic of China.
  • H.R.5931 (Rose, R-TN) – Would require a briefing from a senior official of the Department of Defense on actions by the People’s Republic of China in Africa that pose a threat to United States national security.
  • H.R.5932 (Schweikert, R-AZ) – Would authorize additional assistance to Israel using assets confiscated from Iran.
  • H.R.5945 (Meuser, R-PA) – Would reinstate certain sanctions imposed with respect to Iran.
  • H.R.5947 (Pfluger, R-TX) – Would provide for the rescission of certain waivers and licenses relating to Iran.
  • H.R.5952 (Steel, R-CA) – Would prohibit United States funds to the Palestinian Authority.

Upcoming Congressional Hearings





  • Ervin Massinga, U.S. Ambassador to Ethiopia
  • Jay Heimbach, World Bank Vice President of External and Corporate Relations
  • Jim O’Brien, Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs
  • Michael Gould, Senate Finance Committee GOP Tax Counsel
  • Naomi González, NSC Director for Aviation and Surface Transportation

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.