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International Issues Update 2023/6

By February 17, 2023July 31st, 2023No Comments


  • Reporting on Brazilian President Lula’s visit to Washington
  • Analyzing impact of APEP, IRA, and the CHIPS Act on investment in Latin America
  • Monitoring progress of UN plastic treaty negotiations and reporting on global plastic outlook

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:

  • February 15: Assistant USTR 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

Upcoming WIBC events:

  • February 22: Deputy Assistant USTR for Latin America Courtney Smothers, Americas Partnership for Economic Prosperity and implementation of existing trade agreements in Latin America
  • March 1: Deputy Assistant USTR for China Affairs Timothy Wineland, U.S.-Taiwan Initiative on 21st-Century Trade priorities

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



In February 15 remarks at the Brookings Institute, Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman addressed U.S.-China relations, outlining the administration’s strategy as “Invest, align, compete.” She emphasized that the United States will push back against Chinese efforts “that seek to coerce other countries, distort markets, and undermine American workers and businesses” but is open to collaboration on key areas such as “climate, food security, counter-narcotics, [and] global health.” 

Following the February 4 U.S. shootdown of a Chinese spy balloon, the administration on February 16 said that other objects shutdown in U.S. airspace over the weekend were not linked to China. President Biden addressed the ongoing situation in a February 16 press conference. 

In a February 15 Foreign Ministry briefing, China said it will take measures against U.S. entities related to the downing of the spy balloon but did not specify any details of such measures. Secretary of State Antony Blinken reportedly may meet with his Chinese counterpart on the margins of the Munich Security Conference, in an attempt to deescalate tensions.

Meanwhile, Chinese President Xi Jinping delivered on February 17 a major speech on progress combatting COVID, noting that the government believes it has now “effectively balanced pandemic containment with economic and social development.” Beijing also released the text of Xi’s December 2022 speech to the Central Economic Work Conference, which notably welcomed new foreign direct investment and called for “liberalizing market access for private investment.” 

Contact: Ethan Knecht, Pat Sheehy

Latin America

During his first visit to Washington since his return to the presidency, Brazilian President Lula da Silva traveled met with, among others, President Biden, Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and other progressive members of Congress, and the AFL-CIO. In a joint statement, President Biden agreed to visit Brazil sometime in the future and committed to “work with Congress” to provide unspecified funds for Brazil’s Amazon fund. 

While the joint statement noted discussions on trade, investment, and supply chains, there was no further announcement of substantive progress on economic cooperation or agreements. The countries agreed to restart the high-level U.S.-Brazil Climate Change Working Group, and U.S. Climate Special Envoy John Kerry will reportedly visit Brazil in the near future.

The Mexican government scrapped its deadline to ban genetically modified corn for animal feed and industrial use, but announced it would still prohibit the herbicide glyphosate and the use of GM corn for human consumption. U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack expressed “disappointment” at the move, and House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Jason Smith (R-MO) and Trade Subcommittee Chairman Adrian Smith (R-NE) sent a letter to Secretary Vilsack and USTR Tai calling for the administration to initiate a formal USMCA dispute.  

On February 14, Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) led a bipartisan letter to Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo and U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai urging them to take action against an “unsustainable surge of Mexican steel imports.” 

Contact: Ethan Knecht, Steve Ziehm

Quick takes

  • The Departments of Commerce and Justice announced on February 16 a joint task force to disrupt adversaries like China from acquiring technology critical to U.S. national security.
  • World Bank President David Malpass has announced he will step down by June 30.  Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said the United States would put forward a successor candidate to continue work on multilateral development bank reform with climate change and public health as priorities. 
  • The United States issued on February 16 a “Political Declaration on the Responsible Military Use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Autonomy,” laying out a series of non-binding guidelines describing best practices for responsible use of AI in a defense context.
  • In its first meeting of 2023, the WTO Dialogue on Plastics Pollution and Environmentally Sustainable Plastics Trade discussed a wide range of plastic production, trade, and waste issues and aimed to advance outcomes for the February 2024 13th Ministerial Conference (MC13) in Abu Dhabi, in alignment with the ongoing negotiation of a global plastic treaty. The Dialogue will next meet on March 13. 
  • The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) determined on February 13 that the United Kingdom and New Zealand qualify for exemption from certain reviews by the body. 


Federal Register Notices

Newly Introduced Legislation


  • H.R.1042 (McMorris Rodgers, R-WA) Prohibits the import of low enriched uranium from Russia.
  • H.R.1016 (Lesko, R-AZ) Prohibit U.S. entry of certain members of the Chinese Communist Party until China ceases theft of U.S. intellectual property.
  • H.R.988 (Allred, D-TX) Prohibits the establishment of a corporation used to conceal election contributions by foreign nationals. 
  • H.R.944 (Pfluger, R-TX) Requires U.S. higher education institutions to disclose ties to the Chinese government. 
  • H.R.942 (Obernolte, R-CA) Would add to the entity list foreigners that pose a threat to the security of supply chains of Internet of Things devices. 


  • S.520 (Scott, R-FL) Provides reports to Congress on China’s bilateral security agreements and joint police initiatives. 
  • S.504 (Scott, R-FL) Imposes sanctions against foreigners who conduct transactions relating to Cuban human rights violations.  
  • S.484 (Peters, D-MI) Would provide training and guidance relating to Uyghur human rights abuses.
  • S.481 (Scott, R-FL) Would impose sanctions to deter Chinese aggression against Taiwan.
  • S.480 (Tester, D-MT) Would establish a working group to evaluate threats to food security and animal health posed by beef imported from Brazil. 
  • S.477 (Scott, R-FL) Would give the President authority to use military force for the purpose of securing and defending Taiwan against armed attack. 
  • S.458 (Manchin, D-WV) Would establish a program to reduce the reliance of partnered  nations on Russian energy. 
  • S.451/S.450 (Lankford, R-OK) Would impose sanctions in response to Iranian and Russian aggression/Would strengthen export controls that destabilize Iranian activities. 
  • S.446 (Coons, D-DE) Would provide the President with authority to enter into plurilateral trade agreements with benefits. 
  • S.444 (Johnson, R-WI) Would require that any World Health Assembly agreement be subject to Senate ratification. 
  • S.442 (Barrasso, R-WY) Would prevent former Presidential appointees from representing the Chinese government. 
  • S.436 (Risch, R-ID) Would respond to the looming global food crisis precipitated by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine (reintroduces Securing Allies Food in Emergencies Act (SAFE Act)).
  • S.430 (Risch, R-ID) Would provide authority to enter into a cooperative agreement to protect civilians in Iraq and the Arabian Peninsula from weaponized unmanned aerial systems. 
  • S.416 (Wicker, R-MS) Would designate the Russian-based mercenary Wagner Group as a foreign terrorist organization.
  • S.415 (Thune, R-SD) Would provide reliable and evidence-based food and energy security. 
  • S.396 (Menendez, D-NJ) Would require the Secretary of State to impose sanctions on Haitian elites involved in criminal activities.



  • Dr. Lael Brainard, National Economic Council (NEC) Director
  • Dr. Joelle Gamble, NEC Deputy Director
  • Ms. Natalie Quillian, Deputy Chief of Staff to the President
  • Ms. Sarah Beran, National Security Council (NSC) Senior Director for China and Taiwan
  • Mr. William Russo, Assistant Secretary of State for Global Public Affairs
  • Mr. Chris Bigelow, House Appropriations Committee Democratic Staff Director


  • Ms. Gina Ortiz Jones, Under Secretary of the Air Force
  • Ms. Laura Rosenberger, NSC Senior Director for China and Taiwan
  • Ambassador Philippe Etienne, French Ambassador to the United States

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


  • APEC First Senior Officials Meeting (Palm Springs), February 14-28
  • Munich Security Conference (Munich), February 17-19
  • African Union Assembly of Heads of State and Government (Addis Ababa), February 18-19
  • EU Foreign Affairs Council (Brussels), February 20
  • U.S. Congress is in recess, February 20-24
  • ASEAN Defense Ministers Meeting (Bangkok), February 20-24
  • EU General Affairs Council (Brussels), February 21
  • USDA Annual Agricultural Outlook Forum, February 23-24
  • G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Meeting (Bengaluru), February 23-25
  • Nigerian General Elections, February 25

Looking farther ahead? Find the most recent full international events calendar here.