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International Issues Update 2023/11

By March 17, 2023September 8th, 2023No Comments


  • Briefing client executives on trends in export controls and China derisking 
  • Coordinating interagency outreach on China Section 301 tariffs
  • Analyzing the impact of the Canadian clean fuel standard

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:

  • March 28: Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for North America Rachel Poynter, North American political and economic cooperation

IMPORTANT:   Please see our new website at, where you can also access our client portal.  We have updated client portal access passcodes for the new website. Contact Alix Hess for access information.

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



President Biden hosted UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese on March 13 in San Diego to announce the details of the AUKUS agreement on security cooperation and defense procurement. The AUKUS agreement provides for the transfer of nuclear-powered submarine propulsion technology to Australia, as well as cooperation on a variety of shared security challenges. The United States will transfer Virginia class nuclear submarines in 2030, followed by the later joint construction of a new class of submarines termed SSN-AUKUS. 

China and Russia both denounced the agreement as risking nuclear proliferation. The agreement contains no provisions for the transfer of nuclear arms and the International Atomic Energy Agency has confirmed that it is in alignment with the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, provided certain safeguards are observed. The agreement comes as Chinese President Xi Jinping plans to travel to Moscow next week to meet with President Vladimir Putin. The agenda for the meeting has not been announced but may feature enhanced security cooperation. 

Japan and South Korea’s leaders met in Tokyo together for a bilateral summit on March 16-17, the first time a South Korean president has visited Japan in 12 years. The two leaders agreed to resume regular dialogues and to remove export controls and other trade restrictions put in place in 2019. The rapprochement between two major allies could lead to enhanced trilateral cooperation with the United States.  South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol is set to visit Washington for a state visit on April 26. 

Contact: Pat Sheehy, Ethan Knecht

Latin America

The State Department emphasized cooperation with Brazil to counter Chinese influence in Latin America during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on March 15. Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Brian Nichols and Deputy Special Envoy for Climate Richard Duke focused on efforts to counteract malign foreign influence, facilitate trade, respond to climate change, and improve the strength of Brazil’s democracy.  A State Department spokesperson commented that the Biden administration would like Brazil to join the U.S.-led Americas Partnership for Economic Prosperity (APEP) negotiation, remarking that the economic initiative without Brazil would be considered “incomplete”.  

The hearing comes in advance of Under Secretary of State Jose Fernandez’s trip to Colombia, Panama, and Brazil next week, where he is expected to discuss “cooperation in clean energy, health, resilient supply chains, sustainable agriculture, labor, and environmental protection” with Brazilian counterparts. Nichols also mentioned U.S. plans to explore a critical mineral partnership with Brazil during the visit. Finance Committee Chair Robert Menendez (D-NJ) is planning a congressional delegation visit to the region in April. 

Contact: Chris Benscher, Ethan Knecht


The United States has joined a WTO Dialogue on Plastics Pollution and Environmentally Sustainable Plastics as a co-sponsor.   The Dialogue, which held a meeting on March 13, aims to develop a set of policy recommendations to reduce plastics pollution and encourage the adoption of substitute re-use models and sustainable solutions to harmful plastic products.  This initiative coincides with the UN Environment Programme’s (UNEP) negotiation to establish an international legally binding instrument on plastic pollution.   The Dialogue intends to produce outcomes for the WTO’s 13th Ministerial Conference (MC13) in February 2024.  The next meeting of the Dialogue is scheduled for April 27, which will include a joint workshop with UNEP on reducing the use of harmful plastic products.

At a special session of the WTO’s Committee on Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) on March 7, WTO members shared best practices on the regulation of plastics.  While discussing national and regional perspectives, the session also addressed international developments to minimize plastics pollution and plastics waste in the environment.  The TBT Committee also held a thematic session on regulatory cooperation between members on climate change, which highlighted the importance of harmonization of regulations and ensuring effective participation of developing countries in international standard-setting processes in the area of trade and climate change.

Contact: Stephen Ziehm

Quick takes

  • The Department of Defense announced the creation of a new Joint Production Accelerator Cell within its procurement office dedicated to rapidly expanding arms production when needed, drawing on lessons from supplying arms to Ukraine.  
  • The European Commission announced new proposals to advance European competitiveness in the clean-energy transition, including a Net-Zero Industry Act and a Critical Raw Materials Act.  The proposals aim to scale up the EU manufacture of key carbon neutral technologies and to ensure secure, sustainable and competitive supply chains.
  • Ahead of a possible early harvest agreement in the negotiation of the U.S.-Taiwan Initiative on 21st Century Trade, USTR issued summaries of proposals tabled on the topics of customs administration and trade facilitation, good regulatory practices, services domestic regulation, anticorruption, and small- and medium-sized enterprises.
  • Honduran President Xiomara Castro announced that the country would seek to establish diplomatic relations with Beijing and no longer recognize Taiwan. The announcement comes in advance of Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen’s trip to Guatemala and Belize later this month, when she is expected to have a layover in the United States to meet House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and deliver a speech in New York. 
  • The International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin on March 17, on the grounds that he bears individual criminal responsibility for the abduction and deportation of Ukrainian children to Russia. Russia has publicized these abductions, characterizing them as patriotic adoptions of abandoned children. The action follows a March 16 report by a UN commission of inquiry, which determined that none of the deportations were justified under international law.
  • The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) hosted a Forced Labor Technical Expo on March 14-15, announcing new efforts to aid in compliance with the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA), including a dashboard with enforcement statistics. DHS is adopting new procedures to warn importers when they file import paperwork for shipments possibly subject to the law.  Effective March 18, importers will be required to submit the postal code of Chinese manufacturers.


Federal Register Notices

Newly Introduced Legislation


  • H.R.1569 (Waltz, R-FL) Would prohibit issuing leases to Chinese affiliated entities. 
  • H.R.1563 (Chip, R-TX) Would prohibit contributions to the UN Human Rights Council.
  • H.R.1546 (Jackson, R-TX) Would prohibit U.S. funding to implement obligations under the World Health Organization’s Global Pandemic Treaty.


  • S.872 (Cotton, R-AR) Would identify and restrict the influence of foreign social media entities in the United States. 
  • S.864 (Scott, R-FL) Would require the Securities and Exchange Commission to make it mandatory for companies to report the sourcing and due diligence used to avoid selling products utilizing forced labor in Xinjiang, China. 
  • S.863 (King, I-ME) Would establish a temporary commission to develop a whole-of-government China strategy.
  • S.860 (Scott, R-FL) Would require an annual report on U.S. portfolio investments in China.
  • S.852 (Scott, R-FL) Would prohibit security investments that finance certain Chinese companies and expand OFAC’s Chinese companies list. 
  • S.831 (Merkley, D-OR) Would better address transnational repression by foreign governments against private individuals. 
  • S.826 (Manchin, D-WV) Would facilitate the development of a whole-of-government strategy for nuclear cooperation and nuclear exports.
  • S.814 (Durbin, D-IL) Would encourage a visa waiver program for Romania.
  • S.770 (Blackburn, R-TN) Would provide for loans and leases of defense articles for Taiwan.
  • S.768 (Kennedy, R-LA) Would require higher education institutions to disclose ties to the Chinese government.

Upcoming Congressional Hearings





  • Mr. Brendan Owens, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Energy, Installations and Environment
  • Mr. Brent Neiman, Deputy Under Secretary of the Treasury for International Affairs
  • Ambassador Eric Garcetti, U.S. Ambassador to India
  • Ms. Erin Simpson, Executive Director of the DOD Joint Production Acceleration Cell
  • Ambassador Laurent Billi, French Ambassador to the United States
  • Mr. Steven Benjamin, White House Senior Advisor For Public Engagement


  • Mr. Gerry Petrella, Policy Director to the Senate Majority Leader
  • Mr. James Miller, NSC Coordinator for AUKUS

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.