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International Issues Update 2023/17

By April 28, 2023July 31st, 2023No Comments


  • Assessing Russia sanctions trajectory
  • Reporting on passage and next steps for EU deforestation law
  • Designing client engagement plans for COP28
  • Drafting client human rights statements

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:

  • April 26: State Department Senior Official for Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Matt Murray, U.S. APEC host-year progress and priorities

Upcoming WIBC events:

  • VIRTUAL MEETING! May 2: Deputy Staff Director at the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations Sarah Arkin, Congressional approach to Russia (register here)
  • May 3: Commerce Chief Negotiator for the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) Sharon Yuan, IPEF pillar II-IV trade priorities

REMINDER: Our client portal, WIBC calendar, and other resources are available at

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


U.S. international economic agenda

In April 27 remarks at the Brooking Institution, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan outlined the administration’s view of four priority economic challenges facing the United States: a hollowed-out domestic industrial base, a new environment defined by geopolitical and security competition, an accelerating climate crisis, and inequality and its damage to democracy. 

Sullivan said traditional tariff-oriented trade policy would be inadequate to address these challenges, and the administration will continue its focus on: domestic industrial strategy, working with partners to ensure supply chain capacity and resilience, negotiating new types of international economic partnerships, mobilizing investment into emerging economies, and protecting foundational technologies.  

In related news, the Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) issued on April 25 its vision and strategy (as part of implementing the CHIPS Act) for the new National Semiconductor Technology Center (NSTC), which will conduct and fund research and collaborations with the private sector, as well as promote the scaling up of the semiconductor technical workforce. 

Contact: Steve Ziehm 


China on April 26 approved sweeping changes to its counter-espionage Law, which will take effect July 1. “Espionage” now includes actions by “individuals other than espionage organizations” to obtain “items related to national security,” raising concerns that the law could target commercial activities in sensitive sectors. China is already using espionage charges to justify the detention of foreign business executives. 

China’s highest-level governing body also this week announced a series of measures to boost trade amid weakening global demand. The measures include encouraging direct financial support to increase automobile exports, increased inbound and outbound flights and streamlined issuance of business visas, and expanded commercial diplomacy, as well as measures to hedge currency risks in in cross-border trade transactions. China also said it will properly respond to “unreasonable foreign trade restrictions.” 

Contact: Pat Sheehy, Ethan Knecht


President Biden hosted South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol during an April 26-27 state visit. The Presidents highlighted bilateral political, economic, and defense cooperation, committing to “alleviate concerns” over U.S. industrial policies and “encourage mutually beneficial corporate investment in the United States,” as well as affirming the U.S. defense commitment to South Korea. During his April 27 address to a joint session of Congress, Yoon emphasized “synergy” between the United States and Korea as economic and political partners.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo and Korean Commerce Minister Chang-Yang Lee held April 27 the inaugural ministerial meeting of the United States – Korea Supply Chain and Commercial Dialogue (“SCCD”). The ministers discussed cooperation on semiconductors, advanced manufacturing, and export controls. Notably, Korea agreed to “strive to closely cooperate” with U.S. efforts to control the export of semiconductors. The United States has been lobbying chipmaking allies like South Korea and Japan to support controls on the export of advanced tech to China, making some recent progress

Contact: Pat Sheehy, Ethan Knecht

Western Hemisphere

Delegations from the United States, the United Kingdom, the European Union, and Latin America met April 25 in Colombia for an international summit on Venezuela’s ongoing political crisis. Neither the Maduro regime nor the opposition participated, though opposition leader Juan Guaidó unsuccessfully attempted to enter Colombia and seek side meetings. 

Colombia said participants agree Venezuela should set a calendar for free and fair elections and that countries should lift sanctions if there is progress in negotiations over Venezuela’s political future, but the summit did not issue formal conclusions. Principal Deputy National Security Advisor Jon Finer led the U.S. delegation, and the White House reiterated that the United States will only lift sanctions if the Maduro regime makes concrete steps to restore democracy. 

Colombia President Gustavo Petro separately faced his first major political crisis, losing a failed vote on political reform and firing his center and center-right cabinet members, including moderate finance minister José Antonio Ocampo. Petro will now attempt to govern with a minority coalition in the legislature. 

Elsewhere in the hemisphere, Canadian trade minister Ng expressed concern over Mexico’s recently-proposed mining law, which would shorten concessions, tighten rules for water permits, and require 10% of profits to be returned to local communities. The ongoing reform of the mining law was recently fast tracked by the Mexican Congress, along with a number of other substantial reforms to the government’s administrative structure. 

Contact: Ethan Knecht

Quick takes

  • Ahead of the May 19-21 G7 leaders summit in Japan, senior U.S. officials traveled to Europe and Central Asia to discuss efforts to counter Russian circumvention of sanctions. 
  • USTR’s 2023 Special 301 Report on intellectual property added Belarus and Bulgaria to its Watch List and maintained seven countries on the Priority Watch List – including Argentina, Chile, China, India, Indonesia, Russia, and Venezuela.
  • The House voted narrowly to reinstate tariffs on solar panels from four Southeast Asian nations, though President Biden has vowed to veto the resolution if it now passes the Senate.
  • House Republicans passed a debt bill solidifying Republican positions for negotiations with the White House in advance of a looming summer deadline. The bill (also supported by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell) would raise the debt limit by $1.5 trillion while cutting nearly $4.8 trillion in spending through a range of cuts including a repeal of most climate change tax credits except for ethanol tax credits. 
  • Deliverables from the inaugural Cities Summit of the Americas hosted in Denver this week included Cities Forward, an initiative that will develop urban sustainability action plans and implement projects that “ignite job creation and innovation investment, mitigate pollution, and strengthen climate resilience in the built environment.”


Federal Register Notices

Newly Introduced Legislation


  • H.R.2958 (Lamborn, R-CO) Would apply additional sanctions on foreign persons who represent or are affiliated with Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps 
  • H.R.2913 (Tlaib, D-MI) Would permit nationals of Lebanon to be eligible for temporary protected status under section 244 of the Immigration and Nationality Act
  • H.R.2902 (Perry, R-PA) Would repeal biodiesel and sustainable aviation tax credits
  • H.R.2895 (Luetkemeyer, R-MO) Requires a reporting of CFIUS cleared transactions
  • H.R.2865 (Tiffany, R-WI) Would close China’s consulate and Hong Kong trade office in New York
  • H.R.2827 (Connolly, D-VA) Would provide high-skilled visas for nationals of South Korea
  • H.R.2815 (Curtis, R-UT) Would require the Commerce Secretary to report to Congress about the protection of U.S. company held consumer information in Hong Kong


  • S.1368 (Rubio, R-FL) Would counter and prevent U.S. contributions to the development of dual-use technology in China
  • S.1360 (Shaheen, D-NH) Would require the Defense Secretary to include PFAS exposure in periodic health assessments of members of the Armed Services
  • S.1334 (Rosen, D-NV) Would require the Defense Secretary to develop an integrated maritime domain awareness and interdiction capability in cooperation with Middle East allies and partners 
  • S.1325 (Risch, R-ID) Would establish a partnership with Western hemisphere nations to promote economic competitiveness, democratic governance, and security 
  • S.1320 (Young, R-IN) Would hold the Russian Federation accountable for continued human rights violations and war crimes in Ukraine.
  • S.1301 (Hirono, D-HI) Would provide high-skilled visas for nationals of South Korea

Upcoming Congressional Hearings




  • Mr. Blake Narendra, NSC Director for Legislative Affairs
  • Ms. Brittany Caplin, Deputy Chief of Staff to the Secretary of Commerce
  • Ms. Emma Bruce, House Foreign Affairs Indo-Pacific Subcommittee Democratic Staff Director
  • Ms. Karen de los Santos, Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Chief of Staff
  • Dr. Manjit Misra, USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture Director
  • Ms. Sushan Demirjian, Assistant USTR for Small Business, Market Access, and Industrial Competitiveness


  • Ms. Rachel Wallace, OMB Chief of Staff
  • Ms. Susan Rice, Director of the Domestic Policy Council

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.