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International Issues Update 2023/39

By October 20, 2023No Comments


  • Briefing on recent developments in U.S.-China relations and future prospects
  • Reporting on likely outcomes of the U.S.-EU Summit 
  • Monitoring congressional appropriations impacts on client priorities

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 17: House Select Committee on China Professional Staff Member Jake Parker, Economic engagement and trade with China

Upcoming WIBC Events:

  • October 25 Virtual Meeting: Senior U.S. Trade Representative for Mexico Carlos Romero, U.S. trade policy with Mexico
  • October 26: Acting Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for South and Central Asia Brendan Lynch, U.S. trade priorities with India and South Asia

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.


U.S.-EU Summit

The U.S.-EU Summit began October 20 in Washington, amid reports of significant challenges in the negotiations to avoid reinstatement of U.S. tariffs on imported steel and aluminum. With global crises in Ukraine and the Middle East expected to dominate leader-level discussions, trade may take lower priority than previously anticipated. Trade negotiators reportedly met throughout the day, but with major roadblocks remaining to reach an agreement on the steel tariffs or the impact of the U.S. Inflation Reduction Act on EU businesses and products.

The parties previously agreed to extend a tariff reimposition deadline to January 2024. Failure to reach an agreement also risks reinstatement of retaliatory tariffs, which industries on both sides of the Atlantic have called to avoid (for example, see apparel and food organization statements).

Contact: Stephen Ziehm


Despite Russian President Vladimir Putin’s high-profile attendance, China’s third Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) summit, hosted October 17-18 in Beijing, was overall smaller and resulted in more subdued promises than previous summits. Chinese President Xi Jinping used the summit to announce more than $100 billion in new financing through China’s policy banks over the next ten years and to refocus the initiative on smaller and greener projects. A host of new RMB-denominated loans were also announced on the summit’s sidelines as part of Beijing’s strategy to promote the yuan’s international use.

The United States and China each continued to advance export controls, with Commerce releasing on October 17 updated advanced semiconductor and supercomputer controls that aim to curtail evasion, account for work-arounds developed by China and U.S. manufacturers, and address industry comments and concerns. Thirteen Chinese semiconductor firms were added to the entity list, barring them from receiving any U.S. controlled goods.

China announced on October 20 that beginning December 1 it will require export permits for some graphite products, a key material used in electric vehicle batteries. China justified the new restrictions as necessary to “benefit the security and stability of the global supply chain as well as safeguard national security and interests.”

Contact: Pat Sheehy, Ethan Knecht


In a rare Oval Office address following his October 17 visit to Israel, President Biden announced he will ask Congress for emergency funding to support Israel and Ukraine in their ongoing conflicts.

The Treasury Department on October 18 issued sanctions on Hamas financial facilitators in Gaza and elsewhere including Sudan, Türkiye, Algeria, and Qatar. The Senate passed 97-0 a resolution expressing support for Israel. The House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Michael McCaul (R-TX) sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for Global Criminal Justice Beth Van Schaack calling on the State Department to make a formal determination that Hamas committed acts of genocide and crimes against humanity.

Contact: Pat Sheehy, Chris Benscher


The Venezuelan opposition and the Maduro regime reached agreements this week providing for freer elections in the second half of 2024 and addressing some business and territorial disputes. The deal addresses election observers, updating the electoral rolls, and allowing different political factions to choose their own candidates. Following the announcement, the Maduro regime began releasing political prisoners.

A joint U.S.-UK-EU-Canada statement welcomed the developments, but U.S. officials stressed, including in a statement on sanctions relief, that the Maduro regime will have to both “begin the release of all wrongfully detained U.S. nationals and Venezuelan political prisoners” and define a specific timeline and process for reinstating political candidates by the end of November. The first test of this agreement will be the opposition’s October 22 primary, in which the leading candidate is currently barred by the regime.

In response to the agreement, the Treasury issued General Licenses authorizing transactions in Venezuela’s oil and gas sector and gold sectors, as well as modifying some existing general licenses related to dealings in debt. Treasury has also provided a FAQ document detailing the action.

Contact: Ethan Knecht, Pat Sheehy

Quick takes

  • An October 17 U.S. International Trade Commission report provides lengthy background on intellectual property and COVID-19 diagnostics and therapeutics but does not recommend specific conclusions regarding flexibilities under the WTO’s TRIPS Agreement. The report was requested by USTR in 2022 and is intended to inform ongoing WTO negotiations on extending flexibilities previously provided for COVID-19 vaccines.  
  • Banana scion Daniel Noboa, son of perennial presidential candidate Álvaro Noboa, won Ecuador’s presidential runoff. In an abbreviated term that will last only until 2025, he intends to focus on improving the country’s security and economy. 
  • House Foreign Affairs and Senate Foreign Relations Committee leaders introduced legislation to remove double-taxation between the United States and Taiwan.


Federal Register Notices

Newly Introduced Legislation


  • H.R.5952 (Steel, R-CA) – Would prohibit U.S. funding to the Palestinian Authority.
  • H.R.5959 (Tiffany, R-WI) – Would make ineligible visas and other access to Palestinian Authority passport holders.
  • H.R.5961 (McCaul, R-TX) – Would freeze certain Iranian funds involved in the 2023 hostage deal between the United States and Iran.
  • H.R.5978 (Bucshon, R-IN) – To amend the Fair Packaging and Labeling Act to establish a Federal standard relating to ingredient disclosure in cleaning products.
  • H.R.5983 (Larsen, D-WA) – Would amend the Federal Water Pollution Control Act to restore a national minimum standard of protection for the water resources of the United States while providing certainty to regulated entities.
  • H.R.5986 (Mast, R-FL) – Would prohibit funds for the Palestinian-controlled West Bank or Gaza.
  • H.R.5988 (Smith, R-MO) – Would provide special rules for the taxation of certain residents of Taiwan with income from sources within the United States.
  • H.R.5994 (Issa, R-CA) – Would fully enforce Iran oil sanctions.
  • H.R.5996 (Kustoff, R-TN) – Would prohibit any direct or indirect U.S. funding for Gaza unless certain conditions are met.
  • H.R.5997 (Lee, D-NV) – Would require the Secretary of Energy to further develop and support the adoption of a voluntary streamlined permitting and inspection process for authorities having jurisdiction over the permitting of qualifying distributed energy systems.
  • H.R.6000 (Nunn, R-IA) – Would freeze $6 billion in Iranian funds held in Qatar.
  • H.Res.786 (Bush, D-MO) – Calls for an immediate deescalation and cease-fire in Israel and occupied Palestine.
  • H.Res.793 (Stevens, D-MI) – Calls on Hamas to immediately release hostages taken during the October 2023 attack on Israel.
  • H.Res.796 (Gonzales, R-TX) – Condemns foreign nationals in the United States who have endorsed and espoused the actions of foreign terrorist organizations (FTO) in Gaza.
  • H.Res.797 (Mills, R-FL) – Condemns the Biden Administration for failing to support American citizens left stranded in Israel.
  • H.Res.798 (Owens, R-UT) – Condemns the support of Hamas, Hezbollah, and other terrorist organizations at institutions of higher education.


  • S.3041 (Cotton, R-AR) – Would reinstate certain sanctions imposed with respect to Iran.
  • S.3049 (Scott, R-SC) – Would freeze $6 billion in Iranian funds held in Qatar.
  • S.3052 (Daines, R-MT) – Would make ineligible visas and other access to Palestinian Authority passport holders.
  • S.3053 (Rubio, R-FL) – Would prohibit the importation of crude oil, petroleum, petroleum products, and liquefied natural gas from Venezuela and Iran.
  • S.3057 (Kennedy, R-LA) – No Dollars for Dictators Act of 2023 ( Would prohibit allocations of Special Drawing Rights at the International Monetary Fund for perpetrators of genocide and state sponsors of terrorism without congressional authorization.)
  • S.3061 (Marshall, R-KS) – Would revoke the waiver determination submitted to Congress on September 11, 2023, with respect to certain sanctions imposed with respect to Iran.
  • S.3064 (Blackburn, R-TN) – Would limit funding to the United Nations until Iran has been expelled and investigated for violations of the Genocide Convention.
  • S.3081 (Daines, R-MT) – Would authorize additional assistance to Israel using assets confiscated from Iran.
  • S.3083 (Hagerty, R-TN) – Would reallocate funding originally appropriated for Gaza to grants to Israel for the Iron Dome short-range rocket defense system.
  • S.Res.408 (Rosen, D-NV) – A resolution condemning Hamas for its premeditated, coordinated, and brutal terrorist attacks on Israel and demanding that Hamas immediately release all hostages and return them to safety.
  • S.Res.413 (Rubio, R-FL) – A resolution condemning foreign nationals in the United States who have endorsed and espoused the actions of foreign terrorist organizations (FTO) in Gaza who, on October 7, 2023, launched attacks against the State of Israel, and killed innocent Israeli and United States citizens.
  • S.Res.417 (Schumer, D-NY) – A resolution standing with Israel against terrorism.
  • S.Res.418 (Hawley, R-MO) – Condemns Hamas and antisemitic student activities on college campuses in the United States.

Upcoming Congressional Hearings





  • Dilpreet Sidhu, National Security Council Deputy Chief of Staff
  • Ambassador Evangelos Savva, Ambassador of Cyprus to the United States  
  • Francisco Bencosme, USAID Global China Coordinator
  • Johanna Hill, WTO Deputy Director-General
  • Kate Balcerzak, White House Director of Partnerships and Private Sector Engagement
  • LeAnne Howard, National Security Council Special Advisor for NATO


  • Garphil Julien, National Economic Council Policy Advisor
  • Randolph Stayin, Commissioner of the U.S. International Trade Commission 
  • Zayn Siddique, Domestic Policy COuncil Principal Deputy Director

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.