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International Issues Update 2023/7

By February 24, 2023July 31st, 2023No Comments


  • Advising on import barriers in Argentina
  • Preparing input on IPEF negotiations 
  • Advising on the outlook for China tech restrictions

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 22: Deputy Assistant USTR for Latin America Courtney Smothers, Americas Partnership for Economic Prosperity and implementation of existing trade agreements in Latin America

Upcoming WIBC events:

  • March 1: Deputy Assistant USTR for China Affairs Timothy Wineland, U.S.-Taiwan Initiative on 21st-Century Trade priorities
  • March 7: Assistant USTR for Small Business, Market Access, and Industrial Competitiveness Sushan Demirjian, Global Arrangement on Steel and Aluminum, the Inflation Reduction Act, and supply chain issues

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



During a reportedly tense meeting with Secretary of State Antony Blinken on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference, China’s chief foreign affairs official Wang Yi refused to apologize for the recent balloon incident while also calling the U.S. response “near-hysterical.” The Chinese Foreign Ministry denounced “U.S. hegemony” in a February 20 report covering claimed political, military, economic, technological, and cultural abuses. 

China released on February 24 a new position paper calling for peace talks between Russia and Ukraine and an end to unilateral sanctions. China has avoided calling the war an “invasion” and has continued diplomatic and economic ties with Russia. Western officials have warned that China may be considering providing Russia with lethal military assistance, an accusation denied by Beijing. Wang Yi visited Moscow February 22 in a show of support, and Chinese President Xi Jinping is expected to visit Russia later this spring. 

Amid these continuing tensions, the State Department has provided no indication Blinken will reschedule his canceled Beijing trip anytime soon, but the March 1 G20 ministerial in New Delhi could provide another venue for the two sides to meet – Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang will also attend.

Contact: Ethan Knecht, Pat Sheehy


The UN Environment Assembly has made public submissions from countries and stakeholders participating in negotiations to develop a global treaty on plastic pollution, in advance of the second round of negotiations scheduled for May 29 in Paris.  

The U.S. submission proposes a mix of legally binding obligations, commitments, and voluntary approaches that “promote the sustainable production and consumption of plastic, increase plastic circularity in a manner that is protective of human health and the environment, and strengthen the environmentally sound management of plastic waste.” 

 In contrast, the European Union and members of the High Ambition Coalition to End Plastic Pollution have proposed binding requirements to reduce the production of primary plastics (including through taxes, tariffs, fees, production permits and licenses, moratoriums, bans, regulations, and removal of subsidies), as well as to eliminate or restrict specific plastics that are “harmful to the environment and human health, are problematic because they impede

circularity or that have a high risk of release into the environment.”

The EU is accepting comments until April 18 on its proposed Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation (PPWR), which aims to cut plastic waste by 40% bloc-wide. The draft regulation includes requirements for 100% recyclable packaging by 2030, mandatory recycled content requirements, and bans on “unnecessary packaging” (such as miniature hotel toiletries and plastic produce packaging) and “superfluous packaging” (such as double walls or false bottoms). 

The WTO Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) Committee will host on March 7 a special thematic session on regulatory cooperation between members on plastic regulation.

Contact: Stephen Ziehm


Following President Biden’s February 20 visit to Kyiv and marking one year since Russia’s invasion, the United States announced on February 24 $9.9 billion in funding for Ukraine’s government, alongside additional weapons and defense support and further sanctions on Russia. 

U.S. sanctions include: increased tariffs on Russian goods; blocking sanctions on hundreds of Russian persons, including previously unsanctioned banks, political figures, grain traders,  high technology firms, and subsidiaries of Russia’s Rosatom nuclear SOE; new restrictions on the Russian metals and mining sector; and export controls on basic goods. 

The European Union on February 23 proposed to renew Ukraine’s preferential trade access but failed to reach consensus on a 10th package of sanctions. Poland and the Baltic states are reportedly pushing for harsher measures than those proposed by the European Commission as Hungary seeks to soften and remove sanctions. Meanwhile, G7 leaders reaffirmed “unwavering support” for Ukraine, and the United Kingdom barred the export of “every item Russia is using on the battlefield.” Ukraine itself imposed sanctions barring all Russian financial firms from its market for 50 years.

Russian leader Vladimir Putin recommitted to the war in his February 21 State of the Nation address, during which he also announced that Russia would exit the “New START” nuclear arms control treaty.  

Contact: Pat Sheehy, Ethan Knecht

Quick takes

  • The United States on February 23 nominated former Mastercard President and CEO Ajay Banga to lead the World Bank, highlighting Banga’s “experience mobilizing public-private resources” and addressing climate change.
  • The United States, Mexico and Canada agreed to establish a trilateral Sub-Committee on Emergency Response under the USMCA North American Competitiveness Committee, which will seek to coordinate on critical infrastructure priorities and support North American supply chains during emergencies.
  • In February 23 remarks outlining a “long-term vision for technological leadership, Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo said the United States aims to establish two new large-scale clusters for semiconductor manufacturing by 2030 and to create a new public-private National Semiconductor Technology Center. 
  • Ambassadors from 27 developing countries urged House and Senate trade leadership to urgently reauthorize the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) program, calling it “a central piece on the trade agenda of our countries.”
  • The State Department issued on February 23 its revised conventional arms transfer policy, outlining how the administration will evaluate arms transfers’ risks while promoting U.S. defense exports. 
  • Politico reports that French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire has said global tax reform is “blocked, notably by the United States, Saudi Arabia and India” and that “chances of success are slim.” 


Federal Register Notices

Newly Introduced Legislation


  • H.R.1149 (Wild, D-PA) Requires reporting of certain entity involvement in the provision of telecommunication equipment and services. 
  • H.R.1146 (Steel, R-CA) Would limit foreign threats to U.S. higher education.
  • H.R.1137 (Nunn, R-IA) Would enable work with allies to seek China’s compliance with OECD export credit standards. 
  • H.R.1135 (Meeks, D-NY) Would grant authorities to the President to combat economic coercion by foreign adversaries. 
  • H.R.1130 (Johnson, R-OH) Would repeal natural gas export and import limitations. 
  • H.R.1127 (Gonzales, R-TX) Would initiate U.S.-Taiwan cooperative research activities to prepare against cyber threats.
  • H.R.1120 (Donalds, R-FL) Would impose sanctions on certain Cubans who engage in human rights abuses, corruption, and certain transactions. 
  • H.R.1107 (Kim, R-CA) Would direct the Secretary of State to promote the end to labeling China as a developing country. 
  • H.Res.145 (James, R-MI) Expresses opposition to South African joint military exercises with China and requires a review of the U.S.-South African relationship. 
  • H.R.1103 (Smith, R-HJ) Requires the President to remove privileges from the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office if it is determined that Hong Kong no longer enjoys autonomy. 
  • H.R.1093 (McCaul, R-TX) Directs the Secretary of State to submit a report on the implementation of the advanced capabilities pillar of the trilateral security partnership between the United States, Australia, and the United Kingdom. 
  • H.R.1081 (Gallagher, R-WI) Would protect Americans from foreign adversary social media threats.

Upcoming Congressional Hearings





  • Mr. Christopher Wilson, Assistant USTR for Japan, Korea, and APEC Affairs
  • Mr. Evan Schatz, Senate Appropriations Committee Democratic Staff Director
  • Ms. Eyang Garrison, Senate Agriculture Committee Democratic Deputy Staff Director
  • Mr. Kevin Shea, Acting Deputy Secretary of Agriculture
  • Mr. Matthew Pearl, NSC Director for Emerging Technology


  • Dr. Ben Harris, Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy
  • Ms. Jen Harris, NEC/NSC Senior Director for International Economics

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.