ON OUR DESKS
- Reporting on anti-dumping proceedings related to tinplate steel
- Organized and executed client congressional outreach
- Advised on the outlook for sanctions designations targeting select Russian firms
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.
Upcoming WIBC events:
- February 15: Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Labor Josh Kagan, Combatting forced labor and labor priorities in trade negotiations
- February 16: Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for China, Taiwan, and Mongolia Rick Waters, U.S.-China relations and China House’s relationship with the business community
WIBC discussions are open to WIBC members only. Not a member? Contact Alix for membership inquiries.
YOU NEED TO KNOW
After shooting down a Chinese spy balloon last week, the United States revealed on February 9 that the balloon “was capable of conducting signals intelligence collection operations” and was part of a fleet that had flown over “more than 40 countries across five continents.” Media reports indicate a second object (as yet unidentified) was shot down over Alaska on February 10.
President Biden’s February 7 State of the Union address reiterated that the United States seeks competition, not conflict, with China and emphasized working with China where possible to “advance American interests and benefit the world.” President Biden did refer to Chinese President Xi Jinping by name and defended his actions on the balloon, saying the United States would protect itself if “China threatens our sovereignty” and had done so in this case.
In a rare display of bipartisanship, the House on February 9 voted 419-0 to censure Beijing for its violation of U.S. airspace, but the parties split over assessing the Biden administration’s response. During a February 9 Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing, Chairman Menendez (D-NJ) called for increased funding to expand U.S. diplomacy and development efforts to counter China in the Indo-Pacific region.
The House Financial Services Committee February 7 hearing on economic threats from China served as a platform to introduce 14 bills, primarily focused on Taiwan and financial threats. The House Armed Services Committee held on February 7 a hearing focused on China’s threat to U.S. national defense.
Contact: Chris Benscher
During the State of the Union, President Biden announced he will release “new standards to require all construction materials used in federal infrastructure projects to be made in America.” The administration is expected to release the new proposed rule in the coming weeks. President Biden insisted that new procurement plans guided by a “Buy American” principle would not violate U.S. trade commitments, including the WTO’s Government Procurement Agreement.
The 2021 Build America Buy America Act, enacted as part of the infrastructure bill, already requires that “all iron, steel, manufactured products, and construction materials used in covered infrastructure projects” are made in the U.S., as described by the Commerce Department. There is still significant confusion among industry, federal, state, and local agencies regarding the difference between a construction material and a manufactured product and what manufacturing processes must occur domestically for construction materials.
Contact: Chris Benscher
Vice President Harris announced a new Central America Forward framework under the Partnership for Central America (PCA), prioritizing goals in key areas like agriculture, digital access, education and training, and infrastructure.
The framework also identifies several new steps the administration is taking to support private sector investments in the region, including: the creation of a U.S. Government Northern Central America Investment Facilitation Team; increased access to DFC’s financing for private sector-led projects; the establishment of USAID workforce development programs; and the publication of a Business-Enabling Environment Action Plan. The U.S. Export-Import Bank also announced that it is looking to use its tools to support the Central America Forward initiative.
In Nicaragua, the Ortega regime unilaterally released more than 200 political prisoners, who were stripped of their citizenship and then deported to the United States. The State Department called the move a “constructive step” and said it “opens the door to further dialogue.”
Contact: Ethan Knecht
- Pro-western Moldovan Prime Minister Natalia Gavrilița resigned, under Russian economic and political pressure and facing rising inflation. Earlier in the week, Moldova objected to Russian missiles transiting the country’s airspace.
- EU leaders convened February 9-10 for a special summit in Brussels, discussing the war in Ukraine as it approaches the one-year mark, as well as the European response to the U.S. Inflation Reduction Act. Joining the summit after visits to London and Paris, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy urged the EU to provide additional military support and advance Ukraine’s EU accession process.
- Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen outlined on February 9 four priorities for World Bank reform: expanding the bank’s mandate beyond poverty reduction and shared prosperity; creating new incentives to tackle global challenges like climate change; expanding operations to subnational entities; and better stretching financial resources, such as by mobilizing private capital. Secretary Yellen also criticized China’s slow pace of debt restructurings in developing countries like Zambia.
- The United States hosted the first round of “conceptual discussions” under the U.S.-Kenya Strategic Trade and Investment Partnership (STIP). Launched in July 2022, the STIP aims to achieve “high standard commitments” in areas such as agriculture, anti-corruption, digital trade, and the environment
NOTICES, BILLS & HEARINGS
Federal Register Notices
- EOP, Reduction in the volume of petroleum and petroleum products purchased from Iran, February 8
- OFAC, Drug trafficking sanctions determinations, February 8
- USTR, Request for comment: COVID-related product exclusions from Section 301 tariffs, February 7
- USTR, Amendments to reinstated Section 301 exclusions, February 10
- U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, Hearing on educating and training the next generation workforce, February 9
Newly Introduced Legislation
- H.R.958 (Steel, R-CA) Would renew required reports on North Korea arms trafficking and cybersecurity and North Korea’s relations with Iran.
- H.R.956 (Smith, R-NJ) Would prohibit oil and gas exploration, development, and production in the North Atlantic Planning Area of the Outer Continental Shelf
- H.R.944 (Pfluger, R-TX) Would require institutions of higher education to disclose certain ties to organizations affiliated with the Chinese government.
- H.R.932 (Lee, D-CA) Would repeal the military force authorization against Iraq.
- H.R.931 (Kustoff, R-TN) Would report on oligarchs and representative entities of Iran.
- H.R.917 (Gonzales, R-TX) Requires CFIUS to review real estate purchases or leases near military installations by any foreign person connected or subsidized by Russia, China, Iran, or North Korea.
- H.R.892 (Bice, R-OK) Would convert the value of seized Russian assets to contribute to humanitarian assistance in Ukraine.
- H.R.869 (Wilson, R-SC) Would require the Secretary of State to review whether certain Iranian officials are eligible for entry into the United States.
- H.R.844 (Obernolte, R-CA) Would allow an owner of a trade secret redress of the theft of trade secrets extraterritorially.
- S.377 (Graham, R-SC) Would prevent the Homeland Security Department from requiring repayment, recoupment, or offset of certain antidumping duties and countervailing duties already paid.
- S.369 (Cruz, R-TX) Requires CFIUS to review real estate purchases or leases near military installations by any foreign person connected or subsidized by Russia, China, Iran, or North Korea.
- S.360 (Cruz, R-TX) Would address the foreign threats to U.S. higher education.
- S.347 (Rubio, R-FL) Would protect Americans from foreign threats through social media.
- S.316 (Kaine, D-VA) Would repeal the military force authorization against Iraq.
- S.308 (Romney, R-UT) Would end China’s treatment as a developing nation.
- S.295 (Young, R-IN) Would grant authorities to combat economic coercion by foreign adversaries.
Upcoming Congressional hearings
- Foreign Relations: Nomination of Richard Verma to be Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources, February 14, 10:30 am
- Armed Services: Global security challenges and strategy, February 15, 9:30 am.
- Environment: Future of low carbon transportation fuels and consideration for a national clean fuels program, February 15, 10:00 am.
- Budget: Climate-related economic risks, February 15, 10:00 am.
- Finance: Nomination of Daniel Werfel to be Commissioner of the IRS, February 15, 10:30 am.
- Energy: War in Ukraine/European-global energy security, February 16, 10:00 am.
- Agriculture: Farm Bill – nutrition program, February 16, 10:00 am.
- Finance: Modernizing trade laws and enforcement, February 16, 10:30 am.
- Chas Morrison, House Select Committee on China Policy Director
- David Hanke, House Select Committee on China Staff Director
- Eric Morrissette, Chief of Staff to the Deputy Secretary of Commerce
- Jeannette Chu, NFTC Vice President for National Security Policy
- Mary Frances Repko, White House Deputy National Climate Advisor
- Alondra Nelson, OSTP Principal Deputy Director for Science and Society
- Brian Deese, National Economic Council Director
- Varun Sivaram, Senior Advisor for Clean Energy and Innovation to the Special Envoy for Climate Change
Want more scoops on personnel moves? Find the most recent Who’s Who here.
- Senate in session/House in recess, February 13-17
- EU Eurogroup Ministerial (Brussels), February 13
- U.S.-Vietnam bilaterals to discuss IPEF (Hanoi), February 13-15
- EU Economic and Financial Affairs Council (Brussels), February 14-15
- OECD Ministerial Meeting on Responsible Business Conduct (Paris), February 14-15
- ASEAN Defense Senior Officials’ Meeting (Indonesia), February 14-16
- APEC First Senior Officials’ Meeting (Palm Springs), February 14-28
- U.S.-Malaysia bilaterals to discuss IPEF (Kuala Lumpur), February 16
- Munich Security Conference (Munich), February 17-19
- USTR Tai visits Munich, February 17
Looking farther ahead? Find the most recent full international events calendar here.