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International Issues Update 2023/43

By November 17, 2023No Comments


  • Forecasting the outlook for U.S. sanctions on Venezuela
  • Preparing briefing materials for a corporate meeting with a cabinet secretary
  • Advising on prospects for National Defence Authorization Act amendments

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:

  • November 14: Director of the Labor Department’s Office of Child Labor, Forced Labor, and Human Trafficking Marcia Eugenio, Eliminating forced labor in trade and global supply chains
  • November 16: Chief Trade Counsel for the House Ways and Means Committee (Minority Staff) Alexandra Whittaker, Congressional trade priorities

Upcoming WIBC events: 

  • November 28: OMB’s Made in America Office Director Livia Shmavonian, The Made in America Agenda
  • November 29: Under Secretary of Agriculture for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs Alexis Taylor, Ag and food trade policy 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.


Asia-Pacific / IPEF

President Biden met with leaders from the 21 Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) economies in San Francisco during the 2023 APEC Leaders’ Week, as the United States concluded its year chairing APEC highlighting economic ties in the region under the theme of “Creating a Resilient and Sustainable Future for All.” 

Secretary of State Antony Blinken and U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai jointly hosted foreign and trade ministers November 15, with Ambassador Tai citing progress on the “San Francisco Principles on Integrating Inclusivity and Sustainability into Trade and Investment Policy,” which she said was supported by all APEC economies but one (China).  The APEC Business Advisory Council held a dialogue with leaders and issued a report encouraging trade liberalization through a Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP).  Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen chaired a ministerial focused on climate-aligned finance. 

On November 16, on the sidelines of the APEC summit, the 14 partner countries of the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) signed the IPEF Supply Chain Agreement and announced the substantial conclusion of the negotiations for the IPEF Clean Economy Agreement, IPEF Fair Economy Agreement, and the Agreement on the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity, setting up an IPEF Council and Joint Commission to meet annually to monitor work on the agreements.  

Following a last minute intervention from Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH), who publicly opposed the IPEF’s Trade Pillar on the grounds that it lacked enforceable worker rights provisions, the Biden administration backed away from a planned IPEF trade agreement, instead issuing a press statement that it was “committed to continuing our work towards a mutually beneficial Trade Pillar outcome.”  In addition to the non-binding agreements on the three IPEF pillars, the Biden administration announced an IPEF Investment Accelerator, to be run by the U.S. Trade and Development Agency, and the IPEF Critical Minerals Dialogue, intended to foster closer collaboration on mineral supply chains.

Contact: Pat Sheehy, Stephen Ziehm


President Biden met with Chinese President Xi on November 15 in California for the first time since the 2022 APEC Leaders’ Summit in Bali in an attempt to stabilize the bilateral relationship. According to a readout, the two sides came to limited agreements on significant non-economic disputes in the relationship, including increasing flights and enhancing people-to-people ties, reducing fentanyl precursors shipments, re-establishing military-to-military communications, and ensuring responsible AI use. The two sides also agreed to maintain exchanges in “commercial, economic, financial, Asia-Pacific, arms control and nonproliferation, maritime, export control enforcement, policy-planning, agriculture, and disability issues.” Following his discussion with Biden, Xi delivered a friendly speech to the U.S. business community.

Prior to the meeting, Special President Envoy for Climate John Kerry came to a significant agreement on U.S.-China climate cooperation with his counterpart. The two sides agreed to operationalize a working group on enhancing climate action in the 2020s, to restart the U.S.-China Energy Efficiency Forum, and to restart bilateral dialogues on energy policies and strategies. They also agreed to a series of commitments and cooperation measures on non-CO2 GHG emissions, the circular economy, forests, subnational cooperation, GHG and air pollutants, 2035 NDCs, and COP28 issues.

The U.S. welcome given to President Xi drew condemnation from the Chair of the House Select Committee on the CCP, Representative Mike Gallagher (R-WI), who blasted business executives for meeting with Xi for “pay[ing] thousands of dollars to join a ‘welcome dinner’ hosted by the very same CCP officials who have facilitated a genocide against millions of innocent men, women, and children in Xinjiang.”

Despite the seeming improvement in the tone of the relationship it is not expected that the summit will alter the fundamental trajectory of the relationship. This was described as “continuing, long-term strategic and systemic competition” in the annual report of the U.S.-China Economic and Security Commission, released at a hearing on November 14 in advance of the summit. The commission criticized high-level diplomatic engagements as primarily “as a tool for forestalling and delaying US pressure” and recommended more than 30 new sanctions, export controls, investment restrictions, and military actions.

Contact: Ethan Knecht, Pat Sheehy


The House and Senate passed a temporary spending bill (HR 6363) to keep the federal government open until next year, including an extension of the 2018 farm bill without policy changes through September 30, 2024. President Biden signed the bill into law on November 16. The bill excluded any supplemental funding for Ukraine or Israel.

The spending package keeps government funding at current levels for roughly two more months while a long-term package is negotiated. It splits the deadlines for passing full-year appropriations bills: January 19 for four bills (Agriculture, Energy, Transportation, and Military Construction-Veterans Affairs) and February 2 for the remaining eight (Defense, State-Foreign Operations, Homeland Security, Commerce, Interior-Environment, Labor-HHS-Education, Financial Services, and Legislative Branch). So far, the House has passed seven of twelve appropriation bills while the Senate has only passed three (Agriculture, Military Construction, and Transportation). 

As informal negotiations to reconcile the differences between the House and Senate National Defence Authorization Acts (NDAA) continue, the Senate launched their formal process to complete work on the legislation in a procedural vote. The House completed its NDAA process in September, with passage of the final NDAA likely before the end of the year.

Contact: Chris Benscher

Quick takes

  • President Biden issued the first-ever Presidential Memorandum dedicated to expanding worker rights globally, directing Federal departments and agencies to advance labor rights and worker empowerment in their work abroad.  The policy establishes a “whole-of-government approach” to promote global labor rights and standards.
  • President Biden and Indonesian President Joko Widodo committed November 13 to elevate the U.S.-Indonesia bilateral relationship to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership, with areas of collaboration including economic growth, digital and clean energy transitions, and defense cooperation. The countries also agreed to develop a critical mineral action plan, intending to set the foundation for future negotiations on a critical minerals trade agreement.
  • The United States and the Philippines signed a “123 agreement” on civil nuclear cooperation on November 16, paving the way for enhanced technology sharing and collaboration on civil nuclear power.  
  • Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Brian Nichols emphasized that the United States will revoke sanctions relief if Venezuela’s Maduro regime fails to release political prisoners and does not reinstate opposition politicians’ ability to contest elections by the end of November. 
  • 219 businesses and trade associations sent a letter to Congressional trade committee leadership urging Congress to pass a Miscellaneous Tariff Bill (MTB) this year. The MTB, which provides temporary suspensions of tariffs on certain imported goods, has been expired since December 2020.


Federal Register Notices


  • H.R.6322 (Steil, R-WI) – Would evaluate and disrupt financing to Hamas.
  • H.R.6323 (Kim, R-CA) – Would restrict financial sanction waivers imposed with respect to Iran.
  • H.R.6325 (Brecheen, R-OK) – Would identify Ukrainian government officials in violation of the End-Use Monitoring agreement and to prohibit their entry into the United States.
  • H.R.6349 (McCaul, R-TX) – Would prohibit or require notification with respect to certain activities of United States persons involving countries of concern.
  • H.R.6365 (Waters, D-CA) – Would protect against illicit oil shipments.
  • H.R.6410 (Luna, R-FL) – Would prohibit some foreign adversary influence over U.S. data storage. 
  • H.R.6414 (Salazar, R-FL) – Would make Ecuador eligible for designation as a beneficiary country under the Caribbean Basin Economic Recovery Act.
  • H.R.6416 (Doggett, D-TX) – Would amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to impose certain tax penalties in connection with the invasion of Ukraine.
  • H.R.6425 (Gallagher, R-WI) – Would direct the Secretary of Defense to establish an artificial intelligence working group with Five Eyes countries.
  • H.R.6426 (Green, R-TN) – Would require annual reporting on the availability of Federal funds to persons and entities of China and activities conducted in collaboration with China.
  • H.R.6431 (Ogles, R-TN) – Would suspend the designation of a major non-NATO ally for the State of Qatar.
  • H.Res.869 (Massie, R-KY) – Provides for consideration of the bill (H.R. 5893) making appropriations for the Departments of Commerce and Justice, Science, and Related Agencies for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2024, and providing for consideration of the bill (H.R. 5961) to freeze certain Iranian funds involved in the 2023 hostage deal between the United States and Iran.


  • S.3269 (Marshall, R-KS) – Would prohibit funding for the Government of Ukraine for the nationalization of strategic assets.
  • S.3299 (Blackburn, R-TN) – Would provide that U.S. citizens evacuating Israel shall not be required to reimburse the United States Government.
  • S.3329 (Cortez Masto, D-NV) – Would require disclosure of Chinese government influenced product or website information when downloading or using a website.
  • S.3334 (Cotton, R-AR) – Would require reports on and impose sanctions with respect to Iran’s development of space-launch vehicles, intercontinental ballistic missiles, and unmanned aerial systems.
  • S.3336 (Collins, R-ME) – Would provide compensation for U.S. victims of Libyan state-sponsored terrorism.
  • S.3339 (Shaheen, D-NH) – Would prohibit former members of the Armed Forces from accepting government related employment from China, Russia, Iran, North Korea, Cuba and Syria. 
  • S.3340 (Markey, D-MA) – Would establish the Global Climate Change Resilience Strategy, to authorize the admission of climate-displaced persons into the United States.
  • S.3343 (Blackburn, R-TN) – Would provide that U.S. citizens evacuating Israel shall not be required to reimburse the United States Government.
  • S.J.Res.51 (Paul, R-KY) – Would direct the removal of United States Armed Forces from hostilities in Syria that have not been authorized by Congress.
  • S.Res.458 (Shaheen, D-NH) – Denounces efforts by the People’s Republic of China to exert malign influence in Latin America.
  • S.Res.462 (Graham, R-SC) – Emphasizes the urgency of responding to attacks in Israel and the greater region from the Islamic Republic of Iran and its proxies.
  • S.Res.466 (Hirono, D-HI) – Calls upon the United States Senate to give its advice and consent to the ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.



  • Ben Beachy, Special Assistant to the President for Climate Policy
  • Elaine Trevino, Associate Administrator of the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS)
  • Ramzi Abu Eid, Head of Political Department at the Embassy of the Czech Republic
  • Samer Mosis, NSC Director for Energy Markets


  • Amanda Sloat, NSC Senior Director for European Affairs
  • Jorge Argüello, Ambassador of Argentina

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.