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International Issues Update 2023/12

By March 24, 2023September 8th, 2023No Comments


  • Advising on U.S. forced labor enforcement
  • Developing client priorities with regard to U.S. and EU critical minerals developments
  • Analyzing ITC report on Section 232 and Section 301 tariffs, as well as U.S. Court of International Trade finding against industry challenges to Section 301

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

REMINDER: Our client portal, WIBC calendar, and other resources, are now available at Contact Alix Hess for password.

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



Visiting Russia for the first time since the start of the war in Ukraine, Chinese President Xi Jinping called the trip one of “friendship, cooperation and peace.” Xi’s stated priorities for the relationship with Russia include investment and economic cooperation in energy, technology, agriculture, and industry, as well as people-to-people and cultural exchanges. 

While the two sides touted their close friendship, Xi notably stopped short of previous descriptions of a “no limits friendship.” China also declined to approve new gas transport infrastructure that could serve as a lifeline for Russian energy exports. Following the meeting, President Putin called for using the Chinese yuan as the currency of choice for payments between Russia and Asia, Africa, and Latin America.

The United States announced on March 23 that Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo plan to visit China in the coming months despite expected new measures from both agencies restricting U.S. investment in and exports to China. The administration is also preparing for a call between Presidents Biden and Xi in the near future and may at some stage reschedule Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s canceled visit to China.

Contact: Ethan Knecht and Patrick Sheehy

U.S. trade policy

Members of both parties in Congress critiqued different aspects of the Biden administration’s “worker-centered” trade policy during testimony this week by U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai. Ahead of a March 24 House Ways and Means hearing, Trade Subcommittee Chair Adrian Smith (R-NE) led a House Republican letter calling for a more aggressive policy to compete with China, a message echoed by Ways and Means Chair Jason Smith (R-MO) in his opening statement at the hearing.

Senate Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden (D-OR) challenged the administration’s “go it alone” trade policy, advocating for greater transparency and consultation on planned critical minerals trade agreements and negotiations for the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework. The second round of IPEF negotiations concluded this week in Bali. Summaries released by USTR indicate that discussions included agriculture, domestic services regulation, customs and trade facilitation, and good regulatory practices.  

Contact: Steve Ziehm

Western Hemisphere

In his first visit to Canada since taking office (a visit described by some as “overdue”), President Biden is expected to highlight the “mutual benefits” of the Inflation Reduction Act, the CHIPS and Science Act, and the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, including for promoting prosperity and clean energy. The United States and Canada are also reported to have reached an agreement on dealing with illegal border crossings.

Traveling in the region, Under Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment Jose Fernandez met with Brazil’s foreign, environmental, health, economic and financial affairs ministers to discuss a wide range of topics, including environmental issues like plastics pollution, global health supply chain resilience, critical minerals, food security, and energy. Fernandez said that discussions included the Americas Partnership for Economic Prosperity, which State Department officials have previously said the United States aims for Brazil to join.

Under Secretary Fernandez also hosted in Panama the first ministerial meeting of the Economic Health Dialogue of the Americas. No deliverables were announced during the meeting, but the Dialogue intends to help Western Hemisphere governments coordinate medical supply chains and to streamline distribution and regulation networks to be better prepared for future pandemics.

Contact: Steve Ziehm and Ethan Knecht

Quick takes

  • USAID launched a new policy framework identifying five agency priorities: conflict and food insecurity, climate change, corruption, health care systems, and barriers to inclusive growth and equitable opportunity. The framework calls for embracing new partnerships, including with the private sector, and investing in USAID’s enduring effectiveness.
  • In March 23 remarks at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, outgoing World Bank President David Malpass warned about increasing shortfalls of funds for education, nutrition, health care, and debt service in developing countries and outlined new approaches to increasing capital flows.
  • Among other conclusions, the 2023 Economic Report of the President argued that policies must balance the benefits of economic ties with the risks to economic and national security such ties can entail.  
  • Commerce released proposed national security guardrails that bar recipients of CHIPS Act funding from expanding or partnering with entities in China; Treasury released related guidance on CHIPS tax credits. 
  • In a Technical Advisory Committee meeting, Commerce warned that U.S. interagency authorities are ramping up enforcement on Russia export controls and financial sanctions. Early investigation targets reportedly include Credit Suisse, UBS, and multiple other U.S. banks for violations of financial sanctions.


Federal Register Notices

Newly Introduced Legislation


  • H.R.1635 (Kiggans, R-VA) Would increase higher education funding for the Philippines.
  • H.R. 1704 (Green, R-TN) Would reduce dependence on Chinese manufacturing. 
  • H.R. 1676 (Green, R-TN) Would allow expensing of money paid to move business property from China to the United States.
  • H.R. 1755 (Kelly, R-MS) Would extend normal trade relations treatment to products of Uzbekistan.
  • H.R. 1714 (Mast, R-FL) Would prevent the provision of social media services to individuals and entities on the Specially Designated Nationals List as well as given individuals and entities from China.


  • S.970 (Wicker, R-MS) Would create a China Economic Data Coordination Center within the Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis.
  • S.968 (Scott, R-FL) Would prohibit the importation of solar panels built in China.
  • S.958 (Lankford, R-OK) Would modify the Trade Act of 1974’s annual reporting requirements to include an analysis of national security and defense impacts.
  • S.947 (Kennedy, R-LA) Would lower energy costs by increasing energy production and exports. 
  • S.929 (Booker, D-NJ) Would allow federal foreign assistance funds to be used for comprehensive reproductive healthcare services.
  • S.908 (Barrasso, R-WY) Opposes China’s receipt of assistance from multilateral development banks.
  • S.906 (Hawley, R-MO) Would withdraw normal trade relations treatment from Chinese-made goods.

Upcoming Congressional Hearings





  • Mr. Bill Busis, Deputy Assistant USTR for Monitoring and Enforcement
  • Ms. Emily Mendrala, NSC Coordinator for the Southwest Border and Senior Advisor on Migration
  • Mr. Eric Van Nostrand, Acting Assistant Secretary of Treasury for Economic Policy
  • Ambassador Kevin Rudd, Australian Ambassador to the United States 
  • Ms. Lisa Rosen, World Bank Vice President for Ethics and Internal Justice
  • Mr. Nicholas Berliner, NSC Senior Director for Russia and Central Asia


  • Dr. Karen Donfried, Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs

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


  • Cuban Parliamentary Elections, March 26
  • Vice President Harris travels to Ghana, Tanzania, and Zambia, March 26-April 1
  • Congress is in session, March 27-31
  • Summit for Democracy (Virtual), March 28-30
  • G20 Trade & Investment Working Group (Mumbai), March 29-30
  • Taiwanese President Tsai “transits” in New York City, March 30

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