ON OUR DESKS
- Activating against import permitting delays in Mexico
- Alerting clients to opportunities to support the Miscellaneous Tariff Bill
- Advising on House Speaker election impact for 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 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
Upcoming WIBC Events:
- November 1: Commerce Deputy Chief IPEF Negotiator Eric Holloway, IPEF pillar II-IV trade priorities
REMINDER: Our client portal, WIBC calendar, and other resources are available at redflag.global/washington.
WIBC discussions are open to WIBC members only. Not a member? Contact Alix for membership inquiries.
YOU NEED TO KNOW
House Speaker election implications
The House of Representatives on October 25 elected Congressman Mike Johnson (R-LA-4) as Speaker. Since he took office in 2016, Speaker Johnson’s record on key economic and trade issues has included voting in favor of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA); against climate program funding and U.S. accession to the Paris Climate Agreement; and against the Infrastructure, CHIPS and Science, and Inflation Reduction Acts.
While he has held that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine cannot be allowed to succeed and in 2022 voted in favor of facilitating military aid, Speaker Johnson has expressed skepticism on additional funding for Ukraine and voted against previous Ukraine funding bills. He is in favor of “debilitating sanctions” on Russia and has maintained tough positions on China. In the wake of Hamas’ October 7 attacks on Israel, Speaker Johnson has strongly supported Israel. He has called for separate votes on funding for Israel and Ukraine.
In an October 23 letter detailing his legislative priorities, Speaker Johnson appears to support additional continuing resolutions to fund the government, possibly even as long as into April 2024. The letter lays out a schedule to include passage of key appropriations bills by the end of December, including the House Energy and Water Appropriations bill which passed on October 26 and would block implementation of the Inflation Reduction Act’s (IRA) climate programs. That bill and other House appropriations bills would be opposed by Senate Democrats, and the President has vowed to veto several if they moved to his desk.
Contact: Chris Benscher
In the context of plurilateral negotiations at the World Trade Organization (WTO) on e-commerce this week, the United States backed away from supporting proposals on data flows, data localization and source code.
USTR spokesman Sam Michel noted that “many countries, including the United States, are examining their approaches to data and source code, and the impact of trade rules in these areas.” USTR justified the shift as providing “enough policy space for those debates to unfold.” The United States reportedly remains committed to reaching a deal on the Joint Statement Initiative (JSI) on E-Commerce by the end of the year.
The decision provoked strong bipartisan condemnation from Congress. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-OR) “blasted” the decision, stating that “USTR’s decision to walk away from the negotiating table in Geneva is a win for China, plain and simple.” House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Jason Smith (R-MO) said the “decision to walk away from longstanding bipartisan positions on digital trade undermines American leadership and competitiveness, surrenders the playing field to the Chinese Communist Party, and abandons our closest trading partners,” citing it as “part of a broader, misguided policy of the Biden Administration to circumvent the will of Congress with a go-it-alone approach to trade policy.”
Contact: Stephen Ziehm
Results of October 22 elections in several South American countries hold significant potential to affect the region’s economic and political trajectory.
Venezuelan National Assembly Deputy María Corina Machado won the opposition’s primary election with more than 90% of the vote, just days after the United States lowered sanctions in recognition of a deal between the Maduro regime and the opposition. Cracks have already begun to show in the agreement, with the Maduro regime opening criminal investigations against opposition leaders and allies accusing the opposition of “inflating” the number of primary votes.
Meanwhile, in Argentina’s first-round of presidential elections, incumbent Peronist Economy Minister Sergio Massa narrowly held a narrow margin over far-right libertarian Javier Milei, who has proposed dollarizing the Argentine economy. Polling suggests the two are virtually tied for a November 19 run-off.
U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Brian Nichols traveled to Central America from October 23-27, with a significant stop in El Salvador and meetings with President Bukele, as well as civil society and business leaders. The trip is notable because it comes after several years of tense relations between the Biden and Bukele administrations due in part to concerns over the Bukele administration’s consistent human rights and rule of law violations.
Contact: Ethan Knecht
The sixth round of negotiations on the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) concluded October 25 in Malaysia. USTR and Commerce announced progress under Pillars I (Trade), III (Clean Economy), and IV (Fair Economy). The Administration aims to conclude all IPEF negotiations before the end of this year.
Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese conducted a state visit to Washington on October 25. Prior to the visit the countries held the first meeting of the U.S.-Australia Critical Minerals Taskforce and convened a government-to-business, Critical Minerals Industry Roundtable to identify areas for joint action to support critical minerals projects. The leaders announced projects to further develop graphite and lithium production, in particular.
In the days after the Australian state visit, President Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken each met with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, discussing a range of issues including a potential Biden-Xi meeting, the detentions of U.S. citizens, and the Israel-Hamas war. The meetings came just after California Governor Gavin Newsom (D-CA) became the first U.S. governor to visit China since the pandemic and met with Chinese President Xi.
- Last week’s U.S.-EU Summit reportedly made progress on steel/aluminum and critical minerals negotiations but did not reach agreements. The Summit joint statement focused on foreign policy coordination on the Middle East, Ukraine, and China.
- Commerce announced on October 24 it will review Vietnam’s non-market economy status, following a September 8 request from the government of Vietnam.
- The 2023 implementation plan for the National Strategy for the Arctic region (NSAR) calls for deep harbor development in Nome, Alaska, as well as smaller ports, airfields, and other infrastructure. EXIM, DFC, and USTDA will expand their work to support investments throughout the region, particularly in critical minerals.
- The Justice Department published on October 24 several advisory opinions providing rare guidance on compliance with the notoriously vague Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA). The anonymized opinions provide detail on possible exemptions, including situations where foreign firms’ commercial activity may be exempted from FARA requirements.
NOTICES, BILLS & HEARINGS
Federal Register Notices
- Commerce/BIS, Partially closed Materials and Equipment Technical Advisory Committee meeting, Oct 23
- Commerce/BIS, Partially closed Emerging Technology Technical Advisory Committee meeting, Oct 23
- Commerce/BIS, Export controls on semiconductor manufacturing items, Oct 25
Details on participating in the briefing released Oct 27
- Commerce/ITA, Opportunities for Women-Owned Businesses in the Americas trade mission, Oct 23
- Defense, Defense Innovation Board Federal Advisory Committee meeting, Oct 25
- DHS/CBP and Treasury, Elimination of debit voucher interest accrual before bill issuance, Oct 23
- Energy, 21st Century Energy Workforce Advisory Board November meeting and December meeting, Oct 25
- HHS/ONC, Health Information Technology Advisory Committee schedule of meetings, Oct 27
- Labor/BILA, Charter renewal for President’s Committee on the ILO, Oct 24
- Office of the President, Continuation of the National Emergency with respect to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Oct 26
- State, 620(q) determination relating to foreign assistance for Uzbekistan and Romania, Oct 27
- State, Section 7012 determination relating to assistance to Zimbabwe, Oct 27
- Treasury/OFAC, HAMAS sanctions designations, Oct 23
- Treasury/OFAC, North Korea sanctions designation, Oct 23
- Treasury/OFAC, Iranian oil and IRGC sanctions designations, Oct 23
- Treasury/OFAC, Wagner Group sanctions designations, Oct 24
- Treasury/OFAC, Additions to SDN List, Oct 24
- Treasury/OFAC, Western Balkans sanctions designations and additional Western Balkans sanctions designations, Oct 25
Newly Introduced Legislation
- H.R.6010 (McCormick, R-GA) – Would invalidate the use of United States passports to travel to Iran.
- H.R.6015 (Luetkemeyer, R-MO) – Would require the President to prevent the abuse of financial sanctions exemptions by Iran.
- H.R.6017 (Steel, R-CA) – Would revoke the waiver determination submitted to Congress on September 11, 2023, with respect to certain sanctions imposed with respect to Iran.
- H.R.6024 (Dean, D-PA) – Would amend the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018 to extend the increased transfer authority for a certain study on per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances contamination in drinking water.
- H.R.6046 (Clyde, R-GA) – Would designate Ansarallah as a foreign terrorist organization and impose certain sanctions on Ansarallah.
- H.R.6051 (Hill, R-AR) – Would require the Secretary of the Treasury to report on financial institutions’ involvement with officials of the Iranian Government.
- H.R.6053 (Huffman, D-CA) – Would amend the Solid Waste Disposal Act.
- H.R.6057 (McClain, R-MI) – Would limit the United States from rejoining the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.
- H.R.6060 (Ogles, R-TN) – To prohibit any United States assistance from being made available for programs, projects, or activities located in Palestinian-controlled areas of Judea and Samaria or Gaza.
- H.R.6066 (Tenney, R-NY) – Would prohibit funding to international organizations that provide resources or other support to foreign terrorist organizations.
- H.R.6076 (Cartwright, D-PA) – Would establish the Financing Energy Efficient Manufacturing Program at the Department of Energy to provide financial assistance to promote energy efficiency and onsite renewable technologies in manufacturing facilities.
- H.R.6079 (DeLauro, D-CT) – Would strengthen protections against child labor violations.
- H.R.6089 (Langworthy, R-NY) – Would prohibit States or local governments from prohibiting the connection, reconnection, modification, installation, or expansion of an energy service based on the type or source of energy to be delivered.
- H.R.6096 (Mooney, R-WV) – Would require annual reports on allied contributions to the common defense.
- H.R.6099 (Ogles, R-TN) – Would amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to provide for the expedited removal of aliens who are unlawfully present in the United States and are residents of Palestinian-administered territories within Judea and Samaria or Gaza.
- H.R.6105 (Schakowsky, D-IL) – Would amend the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to deem certain substances to be unsafe for use as food contact substances.
- H.R.6106 (Sherrill, D-NJ) – Would create a risk framework to evaluate foreign mobile applications of concern.
- S.3084 (Wyden, D-OR) – Would implement a taxation treaty between the U.S. and Taiwan to end double taxation.
- S.3110 (Rubio, R-FL) – Would support U.S. policy toward Taiwan.
- S.3114 (Lankford, R-OK) – Would develop and deploy firewall circumvention tools for the people of Hong Kong after the People’s Republic of China violated its agreement under the Joint Declaration.
- S.3127 (Merkley, D-OR)- Would amend the Solid Waste Disposal Act.
- S.3135 (Marshall, R-KS) – Would make emergency supplemental appropriations for assistance for the situation in Israel for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2024.
- S.3150 (Scott, R-FL) – Would prohibit representatives of the United States from voting at the International Monetary Fund for any Special Drawing Rights allocations, quota increases, or policy modifications that would benefit certain countries.
- S.3159 (Cruz, R-TX) – Would establish a Venezuela Restoration Fund.
- S.Con.Res.23 (Cassidy, R-LA) – A concurrent resolution that expresses the sense of Congress that a carbon tax would be detrimental to the economy of the United States.
Upcoming Congressional Hearings
- Financial Services — Subcommittee on Capital Markets: Examining the SEC’s Agenda: Unintended Consequences for U.S. Capital Markets and Investors, November 2, 10:00 a.m.
- Appropriations Committee: A Review of the National Security Supplemental Request, October 31, 9:30 a.m.
- Foreign Relations Committee: Ukraine Briefing (Closed), November 1, 10:00 a.m.
- Energy and Natural Resources Committee: Hearing to Examine Opportunities and Challenges in Deploying CCUS (carbon capture utilization and sequestration) and DAC (direct air capture) Technologies on Federal and Non-Federal Lands, November 2, 10:00 a.m.
- James Mann, Legislative Director to Senator Moore Capito (R-WV)
- Jon Donenberg, National Economic Council Deputy Director
- Leanne Noelani Howard, NSC Special Adviser for the NATO Summit
- Congressman Mike Johnson (R-LA), Speaker of the House
- Sarah Morgenthau, State Department Special Representative for Commercial and Business Affairs
- Chidi Blyden, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for African Affairs
- Mark Mowrey, Deputy Assistant USTR for Eurasia and the Middle East
Want more scoops on personnel moves? Find the most recent Who’s Who here.
- Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Amb. Barbara A. Leaf travels to consult with regional partners in the Middle East, Oct 25 – Ongoing
- G7 Trade Ministers’ meeting (Osaka-Sakai), Oct 28-29
- U.S. agriculture trade mission to Southeast Asia, Oct 30 – Nov 3
- Mali parliamentary elections, Oct 29
- ILO Session of the Governing Body (Geneva), Oct 30 – Nov 9
- Meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee (Washington), Oct 31 – Nov 1
- ASEAN Ministers’ meeting on minerals (Cambodia), Oct 31 – Nov 3
- 20th African Growth and Opportunity Act Forum (Johannesburg), Nov 2-4
- Inaugural Americas Partnership for Economic Prosperity Leaders’ Summit (Washington), Nov 3
- BIS briefing on Semiconductor Controls, Nov 6
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.