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International Issues Update 2023/13

By March 31, 2023July 31st, 2023No Comments


  • Analyzing Defense Production Act (DPA) funding opportunities
  • Briefing on PFAS regulatory and legislative outlook
  • Assessing U.S.-Brazil climate collaboration and opportunities
  • Arranging client meetings with foreign embassy officials to support manufacturing investments

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: 

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

Upcoming WIBC events:

  • April 13: Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Industrial Base Development & International Engagement Justin McFarlin, Defense procurement priorities
  • April 18: Discussion with new U.S. Senior Trade Representative to the EU Rufino Hurtado

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.



Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen “transited” the United States for the first time in four years during a trip to Central America, less than one week after Honduras broke diplomatic relations with Taipei. 

During a closed-door speech in New York, Tsai focused on trade and technology cooperation and called the U.S.-Taiwan relationship “closer than ever.” American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) Chair (and recent NSC Senior Director for China and Taiwan) Lauren Rosenberger was the most senior Administration official to meet with President Tsai, and she reportedly praised ongoing trade negotiations and prospects for “expanding cooperation on critical supply chains by increasing investment and trade.” 

Following several days in Guatemala and Belize, President Tsai is expected to meet with Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy in Los Angeles on her way back to Taiwan. This would be the first meeting between a sitting Speaker of the House and Taiwan’s president on U.S. soil.

Chinese officials warned that the trip could have a “severe impact” on U.S.-China relations and threatened a strong but unspecified response to the meeting between Speaker McCarthy and President Tsai. In advance of President Tsai’s trip, National Security Advisor Sullivan called senior Chinese diplomat Wang Yi to attempt to defuse tensions. 

Contact: Ethan Knecht

Democracy Summit

The United States co-hosted the second Summit for Democracy March 28-30, along with Costa Rica, the Netherlands, South Korea and Zambia on Wednesday and Thursday. 120 global leaders were invited to the summit, held partially in-person in Costa Rica. Notable exclusions from the guest list (aside from clear non-democracies like China and Russia) included Bangladesh, El Salvador, Hungary, Thailand, Tunisia and Turkey. Some of the countries that made the invite list have faced criticisms of democratic backsliding, such as Israel, India, and Pakistan.

U.S. announcements related to the Summit emphasized incorporating human rights into their export controls, limiting online surveillance, and curtailing corruption. Countries participated in thematic sessions across the three-day event, including a session on the role of labor unions in supporting democracy. 

Of the 120 participating countries, only 73 endorsed the Summit declaration, several making reservations or disassociating from key paragraphs. 

Contact: Pat Sheehy


During a visit to Canada that concluded after publication of our last newsletter, President Biden praised Canada as a particularly close U.S. ally generally (including during an address to the Canadian parliament) but made few new policy announcements (see White House fact sheet). The two countries launched an Energy Transformation Task Force to focus on “securing and strengthening renewable energy and electric vehicle supply chains, critical minerals and rare earths, grid integration and resilience, advanced and conventional nuclear energy, among other areas that advance our collective energy security.” 

In other news, Brazil announced that President Lula postponed a planned March 27-31 visit to China, due to illness. The visit was to include a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping and was a high-profile effort by Lula to improve relations with China that had been rocky under former President Jair Bolsonaro. Despite the postponed visit, Brazil and China announced an agreement to trade in their own currencies.

During Argentine President Alberto Fernandez’s March 29 visit to the White House, discussions included food security, Russia’s war in Ukraine, “cooperation in the energy and critical minerals sectors,” multilateral development bank reforms, strengthening democratic institutions, and promoting good governance.

Contact: Steve Ziehm, Ethan Knecht

Critical minerals

The Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) on March 31 issued proposed guidance regarding the critical mineral and battery component requirements for electric vehicle (EV) tax credits provided for in the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). As the IRA is written, only critical minerals extracted or processed in the United States or in a country with which the United States maintains a “free trade agreement” qualify for the EV tax credits. 

Ahead of the release of the guidance, the U.S. Trade Representative’s Office announced a new critical minerals trade agreement with Japan. The deal, which the new Treasury and IRS guidance makes clear succeeds in its intention to qualify materials processed in Japan for the IRA tax credit, faced bipartisan Congressional criticism. House and Senate trade committee Democrats called it “unacceptable” due to unenforceable labor and environmental standards, while House Ways and Means Chairman Jason Smith (R-MO) described the deal as a “corporate green welfare scheme.”   

Contact: Stephen Ziehm

Quick takes

  • House Republicans held together their slim majority and picked up four Democratic votes to pass a signature energy bill. While the bill has no chance of progressing through the Senate, it is seen as setting up a pre-election contrast with President Biden’s energy agenda.
  • The United Kingdom on March 31 was officially accepted into the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). CPTPP parties hope to complete the UK accession by July.
  • President Biden on March 27 invoked the Defense Production Act to speed and invest in manufacturing of printed circuit boards and advanced packaging, their components, and the manufacturing systems.
  • Senate Finance Chair Ron Wyden (D-OR) on March 28 expanded his investigation into automotive supply chain links to forced labor in Xinjiang, China. Senator Wyden requested information about how auto suppliers source materials and oversee supply chains and requested further information from eight major auto manufacturers, following initial requests to the manufacturers sent in December 2022. 
  • The Treasury Department on March 30 updated guidance regarding OFAC licenses required for payment of “exit taxes” by firms divesting from Russia.


Federal Register Notices

Newly Introduced Legislation


  • H.R.2449 (Smith, R-NJ) Would require a strategy for countering China. 
  • H.R.2445 (Chip, R-TX) Would establish an inspector general for Ukraine assistance. 
  • H.R.2381 (Larsen, D-WA) Would reverse the ban on the Fulbright exchange program for those traveling from China or Hong Kong.
  • H.R.2372 (Gallagher, R-WI) Would sanction those in China involved in any military invasion of Taiwan. 
  • H.R.2364H.R.1844 (Biggs, R-AZ) 520 bills that would limit funding for all U.S. government agencies and international organizations. 
  • H.R.1840 (Pingree, D-ME) Would examine the impact of climate change on agriculture.
  • H.R.1809 (Keating, D-MA) Would require a strategy to prevent unmanned aircraft system exports to Iran.
  • H.R.1800 (Williams, R-NY) Would prohibit federal spending on research in China.
  • H.R.1779 (Moran, R-TX) Would direct the President to impose sanctions on foreign persons who engage in corruption in Mexico.
  • H.R.1777 (Wilson, R-SC) Would establish a fund to conduct U.S.-Israel defense projects.


  • S.1136 (Cotton, R-AK) Would direct the President to prohibit Chinese citizens and entities from purchasing private or public land in the United States.
  •  S.1129 (Scott, R-FL) Would apply visa restrictions on individuals associated with regimes in Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua, and Bolivia. 
  • S.1074 (Rubio, R-FL) Would require a strategy for countering China. 
  • S.1066 (Lankford, R-OK) Would increase oversight of foreign direct investment in U.S. agricultural land. 
  • S.1060 (Lee, R-UT) Would provide for congressional review of the administration’s trade measures. 
  • S.1048 (Graham, R-SC) Would recognize Mexican cartels and other transnational crime organizations as terrorism. 
  • S.1027 (Sullivan, R-AK) Would sanction those in China involved in any military invasion of Taiwan.
  • S.1025 (Menendez, D-NJ) Would increase consideration of human rights in arms exports. 
  • S.1019 (Cruz, R-TX) Would sanction certain officials in Argentina. 
  • S.1016 (Heinrich, D-NM) Would examine the impact of climate change on agriculture.
  • S.1006 (Blumenthal, D-CT) Would require the Secretary of State to submit a report on implementation of the advanced capabilities pillar of the trilateral security partnership between Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
  • S.995 (Risch, R-ID) Would promote democracy in Venezuela. 
  • S.970 (Wicker, R-MS) Directs the Commerce Secretary to establish a Bureau of Economic Analysis in the China Economic Data Coordination Center.



  • Ms. Anastasia Dellaccio, EXIM Bank Senior Vice President for External Affairs
  • Ms. Diane Jones, ITA Executive Director for Western Hemisphere Affairs
  • Ms. Emily Mendrala, NSC Coordinator for the Southwest Border and Senior Advisor on Migration 
  • Mr. Matt Baca, Chief of Staff to the Assistant Secretary of Energy for International Affairs

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


  • Secretary of State Blinken travels to Belgium, April 3-5
  • Congress in recess, April 3-14
  • U.S.-EU Energy Council (Brussels), April 4
  • OECD Global Parliamentary Network (Paris), April 4-5
  • President Biden travels to Northern Ireland and Ireland, April 7 (TBC)
  • World Health Day, April 7
  • SelectUSA Summit (Washington DC Area), May 1-4

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