Skip to main content

International Issues Update 2023/2

By January 13, 2023July 31st, 2023No Comments


  • Advising on U.S. clean vehicle tax credits
  • Assisting with embassy outreach regarding defense procurement
  • Exploring client engagement options related to IPEF and other regional economic initiatives
  • Preparing client applications for U.S. government advisory committees

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.


January 2023 schedule of events:

  • POSTPONED: House Ways and Means Chief Trade Council Joshua Snead, originally scheduled for January 19
  • January 24: EU Delegation Head of Trade Michael Margherita, U.S.-EU trade opportunities and challenges, including priorities for the Trade and Technology Council
  • January 26: Acting AUSTR Sarah Ellerman, IPEF pillar I trade priorities

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



Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Xie Feng, an experienced and relatively non-combative diplomat, will reportedly be appointed ambassador to the United States. In a further sign of possible rhetorical moderation, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs also moved fiery spokesman Zhao Lijian to a minor role in its department of oceanic affairs.

In addition to these potentially important personnel moves, Beijing on January 12 also effectively ended its two-year ban on coal imports from Australia. The ban had been imposed as retaliation for Australia suggesting an investigation into COVID’s origins in China. While recent actions may signal a softening of China’s aggressive “wolf warrior” rhetoric of recent years, observers don’t expect substantive shifts.

Meanwhile, the U.S. House of Representatives established on January 10 a Select Committee on China. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said the Committee will address issues such as manufacturing, intellectual property, and supply chains. The House passed on January 12 a bill that would prohibit releases of oil from the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve being exported to China. More than 100 House Democrats voted for the bill, which now heads to the Senate.

Contact: Pat Sheehy, Ethan Knecht


President Biden hosted Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida at the White House on January 13 to discuss regional security issues, the war in Ukraine, and climate change.  The leaders affirmed close U.S.-Japan cooperation and expressed support for Japan’s 2023 chairmanship of the G7.  U.S. and Japanese defense and foreign affairs ministers conducted 2+2 dialogues in Washington in advance of the meeting and agreed to enhance U.S. troop deployments to Japan.

Secretary of State Blinken, Secretary of Transportation Buttegieg, Secretary of Commerce Raimundo, and U.S. Trade Representative Tai delivered recorded remarks to the fifth Indo-Pacific Business Forum (IPBF) cohosted by Japan and the United States on January 12 online and in Tokyo. The U.S. delegation in Tokyo was led by Under Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment Jose Fernandez.

In conjunction with the forum, the U.S. Trade and Development Agency issued calls for proposals for infrastructure activities advancing digital infrastructure, promoting clean energy and strengthening supply chains, as well as to advance the infrastructure priorities of Pacific Island countries.

Close on the heels of these high-level engagements with Japan, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte is scheduled to visit Washington January 17.  Japan and the Netherlands are key potential partners for the United States in collaboration on Chinese semiconductor export controls. No immediate breakthroughs are expected, but the two sets of visits may signal future developments.

Contact: Pat Sheehy

North America 

Mexican President Lopez Obrador hosted President Biden and Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau in Mexico City for the January 10 North American Leaders Summit. The leaders agreed to hold a trilateral semiconductor forum with industry in early 2023; coordinate semiconductor and critical mineral supply chain mapping efforts; and convene workforce development efforts in a range of advanced manufacturing industries.

On energy and climate, the leaders committed to reduce methane emissions from wastewater, develop a Food Loss and Waste Reduction Action Plan, coordinate electric vehicle charging standards, and develop a North American clean hydrogen market.

In a test of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement’s (USMCA) dispute settlement mechanism, Mexico and Canada won their challenge over U.S. rules regarding regional content required for automobiles to qualify for duty-free treatment. Canada and Mexico hailed the finding, which the United States called “disappointing.” The United States must now agree with Canada and Mexico on how to apply the panel decision, or face possible retaliatory tariffs.

Contact: Ethan Knecht, Chris Benscher

Quick takes

  • Brazil will reportedly appoint its first woman ambassador to the United States, Maria Luiza Viotti. Observers continue to evaluate the causes and consequences of January 8 riots carried out by supporters of former President Jair Bolsonaro in Brasilia.
  • The United Arab Emirates named the head of its oil company to oversee preparation for the UN Climate Summit (COP28) to be held in Abu Dhabi in December.
  • House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Michael McCaul (R-TX) renewed oversight demands related to the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, calling out the Biden administration for “noncompliance” with previous requests.


Federal Register Notices

Newly-introduced legislation


  • H.R.344/H.R.343 (Roy, R-TX) Prevents China’s communist party from purchasing U.S. real estate/Prohits U.S. contributions to the World Health Organization.
  • H.R.340 (Mast, R-FL) Requires the President to impose sanctions against foreign supporters of terrorist organizations, including Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad.
  • H.R.332 (Gallagher, R-WI) Requires the President to impose sanctions against Mexican government officials on grounds of corruption and human rights violations.
  • H.R.317 (Bice, R-OK) Would prohibit the SEC from requiring climate disclosures.
  • H.R.314 (Salazar, R-FL) Prohibits the removal of Cuba from the list of state sponsors of terrorism until Cuba satisfies certain conditions.
  • H.R.295/H.R.294 (Keating, D-MA) Prohibits the use of federal funds to support participation of Russia in the G7/Prohibit the U.S. Government from recognizing Russia’s claim to any part of Ukraine.
  • H.R.229 (Wittman, R-VA) Imposes sanctions on Chinese officials involved in the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • H.R.80/H.R.79 (Biggs, R-AZ) Removes Pakistan’s designation as a major non-NATO ally/Directs the President to withdraw the U.S. from the World Health Organization.
  • H.R.57 (Bergman, R-MI) Prohibits mobile phones and software that engage in data theft on behalf of a communist country or foreign adversary.
  • H.R.22 (McMorris Rodgers, R-WA) Prohibits the sale of any petroleum products from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to any entity that is under the ownership, control or influence of the Chinese Communist Party.
  • H.Res.11 (McCarthy, R-CA) Establishes Select Committee on China.



  • Mr. Doug McKalip, USTR Chief Agricultural Negotiator
  • Congressman Jason Smith (R-MO), Chair of the House Ways and Means Committee
  • Ms. Neonu Jewell, DFC Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer
  • Mr. Pete Ricketts, U.S. Senator (R-NE)
  • Ms. Robie Kakonge, Ambassador of Uganda to the United States
  • Ms. Tracy Pakulniewicz, Chief of Staff to DHS Under Secretary for Strategy, Policy, and Plans

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.