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International Issues Update 2024/02

By January 12, 2024No Comments

ON OUR DESKS

  • Developing Congressional engagement strategy related to administration tariff policies
  • Advising on EU-oriented green policy advocacy
  • Presenting landscape analysis and stakeholder engagement strategies for food and nutrition issues

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.


WIBC DISCUSSIONS

In case you missed it:

  • January 9: Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for South America Ambassador Kevin Sullivan, U.S. economic engagement with South America
  • January 11: OFAC Deputy Director Lisa Palluconi, Sanctions policy priorities

Upcoming WIBC events:

  • Jan 23: Assistant USTR for WTO and Multilateral Affairs Andrea Durkin, WTO MC13 priorities
  • Jan 25: Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Asia Pamela Phan, U.S. commercial engagement in East Asia

REMINDER: Our client portal, WIBC calendar, and other resources are available at redflag.global/washington. Contact Alix for password.

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


YOU NEED TO KNOW

China, Taiwan

Following President Biden’s November summit with President Xi Jinping and ahead of Taiwan’s January 13 elections, a slate of high-level U.S.-China contacts were positioned by the administration as attempts to sustain a healthy relationship beyond “cross-Strait” tensions. At the same time, the administration announced that former Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg and former National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley will lead a U.S. delegation to Taiwan following the election.

Taiwanese Vice President William Lai of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) is expected to be elected president, but the DPP will likely lose its majority in the legislature. As a result of the elections, China has threatened to eliminate tariff concessions on a variety of key Taiwanese exports, including machinery products, auto parts, and textiles. 

Principal Deputy National Security Advisor Jon Finer met January 12 with Chinese Communist Party international department head Liu Jianchao, while Secretary of State Antony Blinken is expected to meet with him later today. Earlier in the week, Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo and her Chinese counterpart discussed bilateral commercial working groups, and the two countries’ defense officials met at the Pentagon to discuss international and regional issues including Taiwan, the South China Sea, Ukraine, and North Korea.

Speaker of the House Mike Johnson (R-LA) met on January 9 with Taipei’s new de-facto ambassador to Washington Alexander Yui, pledging to continue support for Taiwan and defense aid. China condemned the meeting. Meanwhile, the Chair and Ranking Member of the House Select Committee on China urged USTR and Commerce to take action to “prevent the PRC from dominating foundational chips” and requested a briefing within 60 days, including on whether the United States has sufficient authority to impose import duties on foundational chips themselves, rather than on finished products.

Contact: Chris Benscher, Pat Sheehy, Ethan Knecht

Government funding

Congress must pass twelve discretionary appropriation bills by January 19 to avoid a partial government shutdown, and a top-line spending deal (agreed Wednesday by House Speaker Mike Johnson and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Shumer) is reportedly in danger of falling apart.

Speaker Johnson faces opposition to the deal and short-term continuing resolutions from the right wing of his party. While negotiations continue, preparations are underway for a partial shutdown impacting the agencies that require funding by January 19 (Agriculture, Energy, Veterans Affairs, Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development). To avoid shutdown of further agencies, the deadline to pass a funding package or continuing resolution is February 2.

Contact: Chris Benscher

Quick takes

  • European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde expressed alarm over the upcoming U.S. elections, describing a second Trump term as “clearly a threat” to European interests.
  • U.S. and British forces conducted airstrikes on Houthi targets in Yemen in response to drone and missile attacks on commercial shipping vessels in the Red Sea.
  • The United States announced security-related steps and high-level visits to Ecuador in the wake of the country’s worst spate of gang violence in decades, which have prompted a 60-day state of emergency.
  • During a January 11 committee hearing, Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Senate Republicans criticized implementation of Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) subsidies for electric vehicles, asserting that proposed rules on foreign entities of concern will allow China to benefit from the law.    
  • Commerce announced January 9 that the department will issue its first national security strategy in the “coming weeks.”

NOTICES, BILLS & HEARINGS

Federal Register Notices

Newly-introduced legislation

House

  • H.R.6936 (Lieu, D-CA) – Would require Federal agencies when using artificial intelligence to use the Artificial Intelligence Risk Management Framework developed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology.
  • H.R.6946 (Strickland, D-WA) – Would direct the Secretary of Defense to establish a compensation fund for military firefighters exposed to PFAS.
  • H.R.6954 (Smith, R-NJ) – Would reauthorize and amend the 2018 Nicaraguan Investment Conditionality Act and the 2021 Reinforcing Nicaragua’s Adherence to Conditions for Electoral Reform Act.

Senate

  • S.3582 (Scott, R-FL) – Would require annual reporting on the availability of Federal funds to persons and entities of China and activities conducted in collaboration with China.
  • S.Con.Res.24 (Cardin, D-MD) – Condemns the hostilities in Sudan and stands with the people of Sudan in their calls for peace and their democratic aspirations.

Upcoming Congressional Hearings

House

Senate

WHO’S WHO

Arrivals

  • Ian Saunders, World Customs Organization Secretary-General
  • Juan Millán, USTR Acting General Counsel
  • Shigeo Yamada, Ambassador of Japan to the United States
  • Stacy Sanders, Health and Human Services Chief Competition Officer

Departures

  • Greta Peisch, USTR General Counsel
  • Hillary O’Brien, House Science Committee Subcommittee on Energy Staff Director
  • Roop Bhatti, Counsel to U.S. International Trade Commissioner Jason Kearns

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


UPCOMING EVENTS

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.